SpeakOUT! Hear the Voices of Social Justice Poets

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The SpeakOUT group of IUPUI’s Mission of Social Justice Education (SJEd) is hosting its second Poetry Slam Thursday, April 18. The social justice-inspired spoken word will be read by IUPUI students in the Herron auditorium at 5 P.M. The call out for poets was April 11, for late entries contact Yolanda Gregory at yogregor@iu.edu or Ahmed Abbas at ahabbas@iu.edu.

The Mission of Social Justice Education at IUPUI is a diverse group of students that bring their thoughts and interests together to develop educational programs for the entire campus. Through creating, developing and organizing peer-to-peer programs on IUPUI’s campus, they hope to empower students to create inclusive solutions to address social inequities.

They have six different programming events and areas on campus: Democracy Plaza, Pass the Mic, SpeakOUT, Shop Talk, Indy Immersion and Freedom Rides and Hash It Out. Each one of the six programming areas are lead by two or three Social Justice Scholars who develop and organize the events each month. The SJEd use these programs to apply key social justice concepts to engage different perspectives and identities on topics that arise from issues of injustice on a personal and global scale to foster advocacy and positive social change.

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Yolanda Gregory and Ahmed Abbas, the Social Justice scholars who lead the SpeakOUT programming team and poets themselves, shared some information about their upcoming social justice Poetry Slam, not to be confused with IUPUI’s Open Mic Night, and what kind of programs the SpeakOUT section of the SJEd organize.

The students sharing their poems in the slam are chosen from those who came to the callout meeting, on a basis of if their piece fits the theme of social justice and the time limit of three minutes or less. The top two poets will receive cash prizes for their poetry pieces, pizza will be provided for those who come out to enjoy the event and they are encouraging everyone to come out to hear the work of fellow IUPUI students speaking on social justice.

This is their second time hosting the social justice-inspired poetry slam, the first was last semester with a turn out of about 40 people according to Gregory. They cannot predict exactly how many people will come out for their second slam this Thursday, however they are hoping for an audience of around the same amount, if not more.

Photo Courtesy of Facebook

Abbas was happy to share that the idea for the slam was a collaborative effort of the SpeakOUT group like many of the programs that they organize. Due to such a positive turn out from the first event they decided to have a second, depending on future turnouts of this event they hope to continue this program for semesters to come.

The SpeakOUT section of Social Justice Education focuses on bringing together a diverse group of socially conscious artists, members of IUPUI and the Indianapolis community to explore issues of power, privilege and oppression. Through spoken word, storytelling, poetry and performing arts, the SpeakOUT members create spaces to facilitate the understand of differing identities and ideologies. With their efforts their goal is to “create a more equitable campus, city, and world.”

No matter what race, gender or ethnicity, all forms of social justice artists are welcome to attend the events and to take part in the Social Justice Education’s mission to help provide the individuals on IUPUI’s campus with the awareness, knowledge and skills to develop their leadership identity through a social justice framework. The Social Justice Scholars application, review, and interviewing process takes place annually January through March.

The SpeakOUT members are excited to provide IUPUI with a creative space to focus on student-lead social justice and hope to see as many people as possible at the Poetry Slam April 18.

Follow their social media accounts to stay updated on the latest events and news of The Social Justice Educators: twitter @SJEd_IUPUI, Facebook @SoJoEdu, or email sojoedu@iupui.edu


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