Some of the most powerful moments in a 916 Ink Creative Writing Workshop are those when it is almost completely silent. Sometimes, it is so quiet that you can hear the scratching of the pen on the paper as a room full of young inkers let their words pour out of them on to the page. They diligently write line after line with a look of inspired determination. Only pausing to occasionally glance up at the clock, not because they are waiting to see if class is over, but because they are hoping there is enough time left in the session to finish their story. After 90 days as Executive Director at 916 Ink, I thought it wise to spend a little time in productive silence myself and reflect on what has already been an inspiring and fulfilling experience.
First and foremost, I want to thank the entire 916 Ink community for their warm and friendly welcome. I have never in my life come across a more passionate group of selfless volunteers, talented staff, and unapologetic dreamers. Whether we have had the time to sit down and talk together, or we briefly shook hands at an event, or sent emails back and forth, or have not yet had the change to engage, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your enduring support.
As it happens, my first 90 days have coincided with a very important milestone and moment for 916 Ink. As I write this, we are eagerly anticipating the delivery of our 100th Anthology of Student Writings. This hardbound volume contains pieces spanning the entire 7-year history of 916 Ink programs. This book is a testament to the enduring power of youth voice and personal expression. Reading through the manuscript on a sunny Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago, I was struck by the transformative impact that 916 Ink has had on the lives of so many Sacramento youth in such a short amount of time. It is incredible what has already been accomplished through the collective vision and action of the Ink community. I am so honored to have the opportunity to lend my voice and time and effort to the chorus of champions that make up the 916 Ink community!
In a sense, 916 Ink is itself turning over a new page. We are grateful for the success we have enjoyed, and we are proud of what has come before. At the same time, we know that there is more work to be done. We believe that all youth deserve to know the power of their own voice. So we continue to learn and grow and find better ways to do what we do. We work to deepen our current partnerships and explore new possibilities. We cannot do it alone, pick up your pens and write this next lines with us. Let’s work together to make sure that this new chapter is full of legacy and innovation…revolution and whimsy… imagination and ambition.
Executive Director – 916 Ink