What is Ink Stains?
In the summer of 2012, some teachers in the Mississippi Delta thought it would be empowering for their students to publish their fiction and non-fiction work in a literary journal that could be shared with their peers around the region. From 5th grade to 12th grade, students from across the states of Mississippi and Arkansas would be able to showcase their talents and experiences in a published magazine that would be distributed not only in schools but also around the communities in which they live. This would allow a traditionally disparate group of towns spread across the rural South to connect, express, share and learn. And Ink Stains was born.
Why was it started?
As English teachers, we hope to inspire our students to use their voice and tell their story. Speaking up can be an empowering act for a student, and publishing their words in a journal increases the power and scope of their voice. Additionally, most of our students live in one of the most rural parts of the United States and attend relatively small public schools. As a result, there is little opportunity to interact with peers outside of athletic events, and Ink Stains will create a medium for them to communicate and be heard outside their own school building and town.
How does it work?
This fall, we distributed flyers and prompts to teachers throughout the region encouraging students to write about our first issue’s theme, identity. We have begun collecting the work and will make selections as to which pieces will be published in the inaugural issue. Come spring, we will have the magazine printed and distributed in schools, restaurants, and shops throughout the communities in which we teach. This way people inside and outside of the school can take joy in and be inspired by the voices of our children. Next fall, we will have a new theme and batch of prompts, and another great crop of student work.
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge will be getting the journals distributed in the community once they are printed. We are collecting submissions from towns across Mississippi and Arkansas but are confident that we will be able to reach all our communities through the strong network of teachers we have. We meet as a group monthly and will be able to distribute them accordingly. Once the teachers have the magazine we hope to be able to place it not only in the schools in which we teach, but also around town so people who are not involved with the school also get to enjoy the talents of our students.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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