Anne Hensley and Emily Kastner, RAWKing

Story is life force. Our stories must be told and witnessed. Every one of us needs the time and the space and the support to access our voice. A community can only be as healthy and as just as the spectrum of stories it hears. The challenge of inequity is not solved by one promise, but by a collective commitment to witness one another every day, leaving no voice unheard.

Inspired by 826 National, Anne Hensley and Emily Kastner saw in Kalamazoo a community that would rally to the call of supporting youth in using and growing their voices and presence, respecting their agency and increasing their opportunity for collaboration and engagement. Read and Write Kalamazoo (RAWK) was born in 2012, growing from a few summer camps in the board room of a neighborhood association in 2013 to a full storefront and writing center, year-round in-school programming, community partnerships, after school homework help, publishing, and a full summer of camps and drop-in writing days.

RAWK was founded on the principles of equity, access, creativity, and joy. If you can get behind that, RAWK could use your support.