It was exactly one year ago, August 2013 that we found the need for a community based poetry company that “helped people find their voice”. On the heals of the Trayvon Martin injustice, Curtis Harris, founder and Executive director decided to find a place where the community could vent and express their thoughts through the arts peacefully, as a direct result of honoring the wishes of Trayvons parents, to honor their sons memory by being peaceful. Our first poetry event which was FREE and opened to the general public was such a success we decided to continue to produce spoken word community events which were themed based. At our Aug 9, 2014 one year anniversary event at the Brownsville Heritage House, we welcomed the honorable Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams as our special guest. A lot has happened in a year.
A year later we have become a nonprofit corporation in the State of New York, formed a board of directors, and have implemented two additional programs. In addition to our general open mic spoken word poetry series, we establish “Our youth are slamming”. This poetry workshop will take place in schools for elementary and middle school students to help increase literacy rates in the Crown Heights, Brownsville, and Bed Sty communities. 75% of these students it has been reported, are reading below grade level. We believe literacy rates can be increased by introducing poetry workshops for the students in their ELA and ELL classes in partnership with their Principals and teachers. In addition to Our youth are slamming, we rolled out another program “No more silent voices”. No more silent voices is a poetry performance/workshop that is held in prison for incarcerated youth. During the summer of 2014 we visited Rikers Island and helped these youth continue the healing process, help them overcome some of the trauma they have experienced, learn to communicate poetically and accept responsibility for their actions.