Somewhere in America students are embracing poetry, their creative confidence and unique perspectives to express themselves and call out our need for social change. I had goosebumps when I listened to Belissa Escobedo, Rhiannon McGavin, and Zariya Allen performing their piece – Somewhere in America. These splendid young women are part of a non-profit, Get Lit, which uses the performance of classic and spoken word poetry to increase teen literacy.
Get Lit is dedicated to bringing the power of poetic expression to at risk teens through a standards-based curriculum fusing classic literature and poetry with contemporary Spoken Word performance techniques. Get Lit’s programs are designed to boost literacy, foster cultural understanding, and encourage creative self-expression. By immersing teens in the world of great books (often for the first time), Get Lit equips students for future success in college and the workplace by building concise writing skills and dynamic public speaking abilities and a foundation of self-confidence.
I checked out videos of the other students’ performances and, piece after piece, I discovered passionate, creative and confident young men and women expressing themselves with raw and urgent honesty and insight. We so often hear about how American students are being turned into test-taking drones, incapable of critical thinking and lacking in creativity and confidence. The Get Lit crew seriously challenges these stereotypes. Check out the organization’s website to learn more about their work, enjoy the students’ performances and offer your support.
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