August 2012 (Zoe Bachman)
RYP students in West Baltimore’s Upton neighborhood fled political and ethnic persecution in their home countries. Although these students were successful in many ways — they were fluent in English and had many friends at school — they still faced challenges, such as complicated relationships with their African heritage, traditions, and cultures. After five years in the United States, they became, in some ways, more West Baltimorean than West African. In order to help the students explore their own cultural identity, community artist Zoe Bachman decided to conduct weekly cooking classes to show how individuals and communities celebrate who they are through food. Guest chefs were invited to teach the students a recipe that spoke to their own family heritage and backgrounds. The RYP students realized they were not the only ones coming here from other countries; they are part of a long tradition of people moving to the United States to make new lives.