“That’s kind of sad,” said Smith, who’s 15. “Imagine living in San Antonio and still being racist. Like, San Antonio is a mixing pot—not of every culture, more Hispanic than anything. But even then, why be racist when you’re living somewhere full of other minorities?”
Smith’s goal was to capture the range of emotions going on inside a teenager, interpersing her own monologues with conversations with family and friends. They touched on the pandemic, but also as a Black girl living in a time of racial reckoning in this country.
“That’s kind of the sequence of thought for a lot of kids right now, but that most people wouldn’t think,” Smith said in an interview. “But that’s really what goes on in our heads.”
Menjivar, who also teaches at Texas State University, partnered with the H. E. Butt Foundation and served as adviser to students from the four CAST schools around the city. Students ended up representing different parts of the city.
“Part of the way that we framed it was really about this idea of a pandemic journal,” Menjivar said. “In a way of being like, ‘Hey, we’re in the middle of the COVID pandemic. This is where we are in this time.”
The students started with a four-hour workshop where they were exposed to various audio storytelling techniques. Then they were sent out with recording equipment to document their lives and thoughts.
The work will culminate in an exhibit starting this month at the DoSeum. That will coincide with another initiative called the Speak Up! Speak Out! Virtual Civics Fair, during which a large group of CAST students answer the question, “What can we do to make our city a better place to live?”
Gabrian Sanchez, a sophomore who attends CAST Med, wrote two short poems that touch on the opportunities teenagers have to explore their interests or discover new ones.