“I’m trying to learn how to play the bass guitar. My dad plays it, and he’s getting old. Before he dies, I want to learn his instrument and play in his band.”
     “Do you want to continue his legacy?”
     “I just want to make him happy.”

Providence, RI

 

     “I used to dream of big moments and interesting stories, but now I just want a nice life: to cook nice meals, walk around with my boyfriend, draw pictures that people like…and then I’ll die, and no one will know who I was, but whatever! I won’t care, because I had a happy life! I enjoyed every little thing, and that was it—that’s all I really want.”

Providence, RI

     “I’m happy because I’m outside and feel more free. I don’t like too much restrictions.” 

Providence, RI

     “I came here from Nigeria 13 years ago. At one point, I had no place to live and started college the same year my mother died in Nigeria. It was a very scary time, but I graduated. Now I have my own place, and can counsel and help other people who are going through similar situations. A lot of people can relate to my story.”

Providence, RI

     “I care about a lot of issues, from world hunger to world peace. But I’m so passionate that I can’t think for too long about all the injustice in the world without it getting to me. Sometimes, trying to help the entire world feels futile. For your own happiness and peace of mind, you have to focus on creating a community of friends, and keep the peace there. At least that’s something.” 

Providence, RI

     “I’ve spent a lifetime developing myself because I was nothing when I was young—not what my parents wanted me to be. I was a reject in everything. Now I’ve come into my own as exactly who I am. Everything I have, I’ve customized. Nothing I buy is the way I want it, so I make adjustments. These pants, for instance, are a combination of two pairs because I wanted four pockets instead of two.”

Providence, RI

     “I love life, I love everybody, and I want everybody to love life and to love themselves.”

Providence, RI

 

“I like to call myself a ‘true’ African American: My mother is Kenyan, and my father is American.”

Providence, RI

     “I’m the only poet in Rhode Island who recites on the streets and makes a living every day. My highest tip has been a hundred-dollar bill. I catch tens and twenties all the time.”

Providence, RI

"Once you turn 40, dress however you want."

Providence, RI

     “I started dressing differently as a sophomore in high school. I was the only one doing this, so I heard a lot of questions like, ‘Why do you dress like this? It’s weird. You don’t fit in.’ My answer was, ‘I’m not trying to fit in because I don’t want to be normal.’”

Quincy, MA

     “I like the downtrodden and misunderstood creatures, the darker side of nature, the species that no one cares about—snakes, spiders…. I like taking care of them and being like them. Growing up, people treated me like an outcast, so I felt a stronger connection to animals, especially the darker animals that are different, neglected and too often killed. They were there for me in my darkest times, so now I try to give back what they gave to me: love, friendship, a chance.”

Quincy, MA

     “As a society, we’re not taking care of our children. We have a huge homeless population of children, right here in Boston, and they don’t get enough media coverage. These children don’t have parents, and they live on the streets. They want to go to school, but it’s kind of hard to go to school when you don’t have a place to lay your head or shower or eat. The schools need to implement programs allowing children to come in the mornings, and wash their clothes, and have something to eat. They’re doing these things on the West Coast. We’re a pretty advanced society here—look at all the universities we have! Why are we not acting? Boston is supposed to be this amazing area—and it is—yet why are we not taking care of these homeless children?”

Quincy, MA

“We don’t hug just trees: we hug each other and trees.”

Quincy, MA