ROHNNY VALLARTA, 19
Born and raised in San Jose, California, Rohnny Vallarta has been writing and performing poetry for the past six years. Vallarta utilizes the written word to discover and work through uncertainties in her own life and come to new realizations. She attended the International Congress of Youth Voices 2018. Vallarta performed at the 2017 San Jose City Council meeting, sang the national anthem for the flag-raising on Cesar Chavez Day outside of city hall, participated in the 2016 and 2017 Brave New Voices International Poetry slam festivals, and performed for the 2014 Create TV Awards with MACLA, a community-focused contemporary arts incubator grounded in the Chicano/Latino experience.
Having been homeless and living with her family in and out of cars, and then couch surfing on friends and family couches, Vallarta’s work highlights the misconceptions of homelessness and drug abuse. She advocates against blaming the person and instead encourages one to understand the situation. She says that homelessness and drug abuse/addiction often coexist, with many in the homeless population suffering from both. Vallarta is determined to educate the public in understanding why someone is homeless by examining the factors and issues that lead to homelessness and drug abuse/addiction. She recommends an increase in programs that provide homeless individuals not only with a physical home, but with a space where they can seek physical and mental help—drug addiction/abuse is not only physical, but psychological. There is always a worry of being approached by police on the street and the frustration of finding a next meal. No child wants to live with that feeling of fear. Vallarta points out that because the public doesn’t see these issues, they are never easy to talk about, especially for the youth with parents with similar issues.
Vallarta will attend San Jose City College in the fall of 2019 and plans on pursuing a career in teaching and interpreting sign language for deaf children.
by Rohnny Vallarta
The children that have no choice not the know it
I see you and everything you know not to do
This sub universal culture we created
Disruption collides with our core
Corresponding corrupt everything I’m determined to be
But doubt me not
I’m aware cautiously of what I’m a product of
Anxiously awake and asleep
I’m not sure what day it is
But somehow it is always but never the right time
So dazed you begin to confuse a hard time with a bad time as if hard times didn’t suit you in all the right places
Startled to seek sincerity
Sub Universal suspects subconsciously
Drive my mind
Surprises are not something I see much
So often searching sometimes I forget what I am looking for
Glance and gaze at the stars
Destruction in the dust at its finest.
Do we still have a place among the angels that we have murdered?
Do you see all the pain you’ve caused?
My goal is to one day be able to look at my own reflection and say
“I love you”
..I’m still working on it.