Graduating 826 Senior Shares How She Expresses her Creative Side Through Writing

Chelsea Rodriguez has been a student at 826 Valencia since the fourth grade. Now a graduating senior, she’s applying to colleges, writing her entrance essays, and sharing what it’s like to be a published author at the age of 17. Read about how Chelsea has used writing to be creative and elevate her voice as a Latina. We’re so proud of you, Chelsea!

How many 17-year-olds can say they’re published authors? I can. In fact, I have over fifteen pieces of writing (poems, short stories, reviews, and more) published in nine different books and anthologies. However, growing up I never read a lot of Latina writers, or read literature that spoke about my community and ethnicity. I wanted to see Spanglish in writing. I wanted to see writers talk about the struggles we, Latina women, go through. And so, for the last four years, my journal and pencil have been my best friends. I’m old school, I use paper and a pencil. I write about muni, I write about my neighborhood, I write about the gentrification I see in my neighborhood, the Mission District (the predominantly Latino district) of San Francisco. I want my voice to be heard, I am a woman of color and I write for people of color. My creative side helps me express the injustices I see around me, and it brings voice to my political views. Last October, I was asked to participate in an event, “Doughnuts and Dialogue: Art as Resistance” where I read my published poem concerning Latinos fearing the 2016 election and the worries of immigrant families. I also write about the world I wish to see, where I am powerful and where my writing can give voice to people who are like me, who also want to see more Latina writers in the world. I want young women to feel that rush and feel goosebumps when they read my writing because I will know that I made a change in my community.