I Create Birmingham: Salaam Green
“My goal has always been to promote the healing power of words in a unique way and impact community through social justice and advocacy.”
Name: Salaam Green
Participating in CO.STARTERS not only gave my idea a jump start, but it put me on the road to making my vision become a change-maker for the community. My goal has always been to promote the healing power of words in a unique way and impact community through social justice and advocacy. CO.STARTERS provided the tools and techniques to formulate a foundation that would sustain such a platform in a supportive and honest environment.
The contacts and partnerships formed inside and outside the class were invaluable; I don’t think I could have done it without the access and direct face to face mentorship that the CO.STARTERS program provided.
2. How did your idea change over the 10 weeks?
Over the 10 weeks my idea went from a seed into a plant back to seed again and finally somewhere in between. I love a challenge, and I am one of those rare birds that invites and embraces change. So my idea went from having a center for creatives to share to being a women’s and girls sharing program. I am now designing and crafting a unique programmatic structure that offers literary healing art services to anyone and everyone that has every gone through any type of suffering…period point blank! Although, that could change.
3. You’re the Executive Director of the Literary Healing Arts Foundation; can you tell us a little bit about the foundation’s mission?
The mission of the Literary Healing Arts Foundation and Services is to promote the healing power of words through literary art devices and techniques i.e. poetry, writing, storytelling, journaling, and symbols….the list goes on and on. Its mission is to formulate community around anyone and everyone that has experienced any type of suffering. We want to create safe spaces, opportunities, and outlets for all to write, heal, express pain, disappointment, grief, sadness, and the like on paper. We want to harness the poet/author that has always lived inside. To provide individual and group services for recovery, restoration, and renewal; sometimes we need to re-start, re-frame, and build again. Though I am not a counselor and my services are not meant to replace therapy, they are empowerment and creativity communal practices for holistic healing and support. I give the tools and the motivation that empowers all to do this through what they already have their words and the ability to put pen to paper and tell their story like no ones business. I am in the business of healing thorough the only form that I know; which has been a force in my own healing process; words and writing.
4. How have the healing power of words changed your life?
I recently was humbled to do an ARC story on Rising from the Ashes. I could go on and on about my story and hope to do so somewhere someday, but the premise of my story was I am a Poet dammit; poetry literally saved my life. Having gone through a painful divorce, losing my home and step-son in the divorce, bankruptcy, losing over 190 pounds in five years-keeping it off for over 9 now, and my high powered career which all defined me at one point. It led me back to my first love writing in my mid 30’s and now at 40 all my little girl dreams of writing are beginning to come true. Birmingham is so blessed to have such a dynamic art scene. I found a writing class called Women Writing for a Change with Lucy Jaffe, and the women in that class are phenomenal accomplished writers, poets, and literary artist and my tribe. I began to find healing on a red couch in the living room of another writer and entrepreneur who opened up her doors to this soul of mine when I could barely afford food to eat. There, I began to proclaim that I am a poet and writer and thus began my healing journey. In essence, my program, services, and business is me supporting others in healing themselves through the mirror of my own pain and journey. The men, women, girls, and boys who I encounter through the Literary Healing Arts Foundation and Services all have something in common – power of voice. I see it and support them through their red couch journey of healing like I am still doing today. We go on this literary journey together strengthening one another each step of the way which is unlike anything happening on the literary scene that I have seen with words and story for a fee albeit it.
5. You recently won the EDPA poetry contest with your poem “Where the World Comes to Create.” What was your inspiration for the poem?
Inspiration is fleeting; I rather say my imagination that never settles often leads me to what I guess others call poetry or writing. Alabama Where the World Comes to create is not my poem, Alabama wrote it for me to gift back to her. It’s the essence of Alabama’s Poetry that I see in the lives, loves, and hands of those who craft in this state amidst suffering, trials, injustice, and growth. One of my favorite poems/pieces of literary art is the play Everyman, a 14th century medieval allegory – my favorite period of literature. There is a line where Everyman asks and this is paraphrased, “will your soul not comfort me if I speak?” That resonated with me the first time I read it. Creatives and innovators in Alabama and those to come do the comforting as Alabama speaks whether its through rural campaigns to build green housing for low income citizens, selling garden fresh goods from farm stand markets, or framing a steel building in downtown Birmingham for children and families. My favorite stanza of Alabama where the world comes to create: is the first line with idioms I hope we in this sweet state of Alabama never come to forget.
Yes-Alabama is where the world comes to create