The Power of Spoken Word

By Steve Brigham

We have facilitated hundreds of public meetings over the past 18 years. All are memorable in their own right, but some have special moments that are unforgettable.

At our Creating Community Solutions DC meeting on Saturday, October 12th, we facilitated a day-long meeting for 400 participants on mental health in the District. We had a fantastic turnout, literally standing room only, and particularly of youth aged 15-24, with more than 120 participating.

In every meeting, we try to feature local talent of one type or another – whether it be a band that plays prior to the beginning of a meeting or an exercise leader who leads an energetic stretch break for participants 4 or 5 hours into the meeting.

At Creating Community Solutions, we had the honor of including two very talented, precocious teenage spoken word artists, both from the DC Youth Slam Team.

Both artists – Amina Iro and Thomas “Vocab” Hill – have been performing for the past year, and have competed in national contests like the 2013 Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival.

Amina performed first, a powerful poem about the depression her mother has battled and the impact it has on her mom, herself, and her family. The crowd gave her an extended standing ovation.

Later in the morning Vocab performed a moving piece about his uncle, a veteran, who suffers PTSD after several tours in Iraq. He too brought down the house.

Whereas the rest of the day focused on conveying critical data and information about mental health and illness and featured in-depth and sometimes difficult conversations about what challenges youth face and how do we overcome these challenges, these artistic moments served to inspire, energize, and focus the audience on the critical nature of the convening.

Art can make an enormous difference in so many parts of our lives. And, even in unlikely settings like a public meeting on a public policy concern.

Thank you Amina and Thomas!

To read more about Creating Community Solutions DC, CLICK HERE.

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