p.o.v…of sabrina: An Introduction.

Peace! I am Sabrina and I’m twenty-two years old. I moved to Minnesota from Kenya when I was fourteen years old. The culture shock, nothing like I had ever experienced before, turned my world upside down. I prayed every day to go back to Mombasa, back to the Indian Ocean. The bitter cold, the individualistic culture, nothing in this country seemed better than what I had in Kenya. I started at Washburn High School, where I loathed being and where I was made to feel like an outsider from the very first interaction. My English, good thanks to our British colonizers, was under scrutiny. And my skin, my beautiful brown skin, for the first time ever I was made to feel ashamed of it. But despite all the ugly I experienced at that school, I met two people that would drastically change my life.

Crystal Spring and Bella Dawson. I met these beautiful souls at Blackbox Theatre, where I found my voice as an actor and a poet. Spring, teacher, and director unlocked my passion with her guidance and support. Dawson has been my partner in crime ever since high school. We live together now in East Saint Paul, working towards collective healing in our community the only way we know how: through our art. That’s why I am here at Oyate Hotanin, it’s why I’m writing this article. I drove Dawson to a meeting about the annual Flower Power gathering with Laura LaBlanc in the summer of 2021. Flower Power honors all those who have been impacted by the criminal justice system in any way. Artists in collaboration with the community build fresh-cut flower installations, creating a day for healing and community building. LaBlanc and I hit it off, and before I knew it, I was waking up at 6 am on August 7th to take part in my first Flower Power,  from sunrise to sunset.

Early fall last year, I got involved with Oyate Hotanin, Dakota for “voice of the people”. Founded and led by poet Tom “Strong Buffalo” LaBlanc, Oyate Hotanin is working to lead a movement that supports a new era of art, healing, and change. Out of Oyate Hotanin, INEquality has been born to transform the criminal justice system and policies. We want to keep the community updated on these interconnected efforts. So, this is the first of a series of articles, to be published once a month in a newsletter.
My uncle used to say to me, “one who doesn’t know where they come from, who doesn’t know their kin, will be lost in this life”. The leaders of our society have always fallen into the same traps throughout time. We are stuck in a cycle of our past traumas. We need to be able to heal, and the only way to do that is to go back to our roots. Break down the old that hasn’t been working and start building a new foundation we can build on together.

I would like our communities to join us on this journey so that we can learn together. We need everyone. Come with your stories, with your questions, with your experiences, with your skills. Get your hearts involved. Build hope together. See how interconnected we all are. Let us see, live, and know that we have more in common than not. Let us have such deep empathy for one another that no one will ever be a stranger. All beings on earth: we are all relatives. I hope our words help plant the seeds that lead us down the path to collective healing as a community.