Justice & the American Dream: student voices 2022

2021.2022 school year

(Find links to student poems below.)

In a collaboration among Methow Arts, the Public School Funding Alliance, and the Methow Valley School District,  9th graders at Liberty Bell High School explored the meaning of justice and how it could be enhanced in their lives, school, community, and country.

Activist Darcy Ottey helped freshman English teacher Dani Golden launch the unit, in which students explore identity in society and how that relates to social justice. Next, working with Methow Arts teaching poet Cindy Williams Gutiérrez, students examined the American Dream from multiple perspectives: the Founding Fathers, Chief Joseph, Martin Luther King Jr., the DACA Dreamers, and their own. Using Langston Hughes’ poem “Let America Be America Again” as a springboard, students wrote their own poems of a “just” America. Students read their poems aloud during two free virtual events presented by Methow Arts and the Methow Valley School District in January 2022.

In this poetry residency, students learned how to write a poem of witness, how to translate their ideas into imagery as well as what anaphora is (the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of consecutive lines) and how to use it in a poem. Additional residency goals included: nurturing empathy, curiosity, and connection across difference; increasing students’ capacity for self-reflection and the ability to hold tension and contradiction as they apply moral reasoning; and developing a deeper understanding of the social fabric of the United States, and some of the history that has led to some of the unrest and division we see now.

And thank you to the generosity of our SPONSORS AND DONORS who have kept the arts alive for so many and supported this project.

Contact: info@methowartsalliance.org, 509.997.4004

Read more about the residency HERE.



Click links below to read individual students’ poems.

Let America be Happy by Damon Alumbaugh

Let America Be More Respectful by Chicane Ashford

Let America Be Content by Izabel Bajema

Let America Be Kind Again by Brodie Barber

Let America Be the Place of Our Dreams by Savanna Bird

Let America Be Peaceful Again by Kaden Borowski

Let America Be Light by Malcolm Bosco

Let America be Human by Nora Bosco

Let America Be Equal and Accepting by Phoebe Cole

Let America Be United Again by Al’ea Colin

Let America Be What America Was Intended to Be by Ethan Cramer

Let America Be Together by Arlen Crum

Let America Be Fair by Rowan Darwood

Let American Read Again by Dexter Delaney

Let America Be One by Mali DeSalvo

Let America Be the Dream Again by Heidi DeVlieg

Let America be Happy Again by Andy Garcia

Let America Be Fun by Cooper Gurney

Let America Be truthful by Kadence Hammer

Let America Be Simple by Cade Hink

Let America Be a Leader by Tristan Hover

Will America Be? by Zoe Kaltenbach

Let America Be A Rainbow by Zoe Kaltenbach

Let America Be Empathetic Again by Darra Kelly

Let America Be One by Mason Lappin

Let America Be Beautiful by Rio Lott

Let America Give Back by Clyde McCarthy

Let America Be by Sam Miranda

Let America Be Chubby by Cassidy Mowen

Let America Build Upon Itself by Sam Patterson

Let America Be Open Minded by Lucien Paz

Let America Be Carefree Again by Raiff Reichert

Let America Fix the Mistakes by Sunny Rickabaugh

Let America be Addiction-Free by Keyla Rispone

Let America be kind hearted again by Bradyn Schmekel

Let America Change For Once by Sage Schrager

Let America Be United Again by Baker Smith

Let America by Fair by Damien Spears

Let America Be Strong by Morgan Spellman

Let America Be Outdoors Again by Pippa Smith

Let America Be the Cracks in the Concrete of Creation by Lucia Sundt

Let America Be Free by Mac Surface

Let America Be by Tim Suter

The Land of the Caged by Clover Thrasher