Amplified Teen Voices
When asked for their reflections on this year’s theme, our Amplified Teen Voices crew was more than up for the task. Their definition of Turn the Tables referenced favorite songs, musicals, TV shows, and internet media.
One song we loved was Janelle Monáe’s Turntables, which features powerful video footage of popular uprisings from the Civil Rights Movement through contemporary Pride parades and Black Lives Matter protests. The lyric “liberation, elevation, education” in the chorus feels especially resonant. Another song we thought of was Be Our Guest from the musical Beauty and the Beast– is there a song that conveys more warmth and hospitality when welcoming others to join a seat at our table?
In ATV and as interns for youth programming this summer, Amplified Teen Voices is ready to take action– whether spinning DJ turntables with original tunes, rotating the table to get a new perspective, or pulling up a chair for you to join them.
Adra Boo (she/her), Adult Camp Director & Programs Lead
Personally, turning the tables feels like flipping the tables, feels like pulling the chairs from underneath, feels like putting hella spinning susans on the tables, hella good food and good music, and making sure everyone has a place, and maybe you’re next to someone you’ve never met, different background, life experience, the whole bag, and at the end of it, everyone has been fed, is full to the brim with passion, intention, a new air, new confidence, bold urge to shake up what seems like the norm, and well, elevation! Turning the table should look like remembering the past to crack open the future in a more truthful and more meaningful way. Making sure that the Black and brown voices are heard, listened to, and that every voice can get it together for the whole. Turning the tables means we are actively in progress and growth. It means that people are sitting in uncomfortable spaces to create fire and magic for the sake of a more beautiful future. It means that you are willing to pull up the person next to you to get closer to the goods. We all want it good. We all want the goods, and the facts of the facts is that we can only do it well together.
Carly Toyer (they/them, she/her), Summer Camp Director
How to Turn a Table:
Be curious about what you see in front of you.
Wiggle around to change your perspective.
Challenge yourself & others to try something new.
Choose a new place to sit in the cafeteria of life.
Remix your routine.
Mashup your two most exciting ideas.
Serve up something honest.
Laugh when the record skips in just the right spot.
Pass the mic all the way around the room.
Start a whole new band.
Crystal White (she/her), Executive Director
Why turn a table? Because we know learning and appreciation come from different perspectives. Because experiencing new perspectives helps us connect more deeply with one another. Because learning new perspectives keeps us curious about who is welcomed to the table and who is not – and the roles we hold too.
Why is this relevant now? Because comfort and change don’t sit at the same table. Change has been our constant officemate and dinner guest. Turning the table helps us face change by seeking new stories, savoring fresh experiences, challenging our assumptions, and sharing our curiosities and vulnerabilities. The table is big enough when we build it to fit our community’s needs and priorities. Together, we’ll make sure our table serves up big bowls of joy and connection and we’ve got an equity playlist on repeat that we feel all in our bones.
Dani Crivello-Chang (she/her), ATV Advisor and South Sound Rocks! Camp Director
in the physical sense, turning the table is comparable to spring cleaning and moving your furniture around for something fresh and new; giving existing spaces a different look and creating space for things to flow in a new way. it’s creating space for others to be in the space sharing laughs, cries, food, discussion and dissent; turning things upside-down and right-side up and looking at what has existed in other ways.
in the theoretical sense, it’s deeply thinking of who is not at our community table and ensuring that access to our table isn’t exclusive or impossible and that “turning the table” is the action plan to combat injustice, inequities, and systematic isms….flipping the table and rejecting the norm of accepting it as being “what it is”….getting our goods and providing the goods for all who want to come to our table.
Mandy Goldberg (she/her), Program Manager
One of the things I’ve missed most these last 2 years of the pandemic has been gathering around a table with lots of friends and loved ones, sharing a meal and stories and laughs. As we look forward to coming together again in person with excitement and intention, I can’t wait to see everyone at the RCRC table. We also know that the table looks different now- we want it laden with things that nourish our whole selves, and we want everyone to pull up a seat. Sometimes we need to flip the table for a new perspective, or –record scratch– swap the album. I want our table heavy with ideas, music, care, community, and a seat for everyone.
Parker/Iris (she/her), Administrative Coordinator & ATV Co-Facilitator
When we first began discussing the theme of Turn the Tables, my initial reaction was a flash of recognition. I thought of Shirley Chisholm’s famous quote, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” Chisholm was a Black woman politician & activist who continuously pushed the social norms of every era she lived in. She was a community advocate, Congresswoman in New York, Presidential candidate (in 1972!), and she continued throughout her life to amplify the voices of the politically marginalized.
As we show up and turn up for our communities as fully as we can, let’s make sure that everyone has a seat at the table including those who came before us. The best way that I can think of to keep on turning tables now and into the future is to honor their struggles and joys, letting them know that we heard the message and we thank them for passing the mic.