Martha Crowe, A Berlin Writer-Performer, Shares

Empathy is large part of the glue which binds us together- as a society, a culture, a family. For better or for worse, our ability to listen, to understand and to feel is both empowering and vital to our well-being. That, at least, is what I believe.  And my participation in breaking walls 2012 Berlin last summer played a large part in my formulation of those beliefs.

breaking walls presents itself as a writing and performance initiative for youths, from an ever-growing variety of countries. So far we have come from Bethlehem, Brooklyn and Berlin. However, as a project, its effects and functions are far more nuanced and pivotal than this simple explanation. Within the week we 16 teenagers spent together, we found ourselves prompted to communicate in the barest of manners, to be honest and to listen to one another. We shared things one normally keeps to oneself, struggles and fears and the stuff of which we build our existence. Most importantly, we were truly able to hear each other’s voices. Suddenly I found myself face to face with a group of people both similar and different from myself.  The acknowledgment of our common humanity was what I feel is most needed, and the most beneficial aspect of breaking walls

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