Overcoming challenges

Marisol and family

“I arm wrestled racism until a vein was about to pop,” Corey begins his poem. Denise describes a woman triumphing over the heartbreak of teen parenthood and domestic abuse. Marilyn writes, “In February I found myself without a roof over my head; like some young people would say: ‘Just straight up homeless.’”

Find these and other creative pieces in the first-ever Onward Odyssey Writing Group Oracle. Doctoral student Gabriella Kelenyi founded and facilitated the Monday night online writing group to give alumni an outlet for their powerfully diverse works of fiction, poetry and nonfiction.

In one piece, Marisol compares our fear of catching COVID when we go out for a walk to the daily fears of undocumented immigrants anxious about sudden deportation. In another essay, Marisol describes anti-Asian bias against her daughter’s Chinese friend and asks, “Has the pandemic dehumanized us?”

Marisol completed not only the non-credit alumni writing group but also English 100, a three-credit UW composition course Kevin Mullen has offered to alumni for the past six years. Marisol writes, “Thanks to Odyssey I find my passion for writing and my purpose in life, which is putting on paper my voice and ideas to strive for equity. I am changing the world by writing diverse children’s books, and I’m working on a collection of short stories about my life as an immigrant.”

Please support Onward Odyssey — courses and resources to empower more of our 500 alumni to overcome challenges as they work towards degrees and dreams. Donations to our Odyssey Project Fund help cover tuition and fees, textbooks, materials, printing and other expenses.

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