The New Brunswick Cultural Center hosts a ‘Voices of Understanding to Overstand’ event

The New Brunswick Cultural Center hosts a virtual poetry event.

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The New Brunswick Cultural Center hosts a virtual poetry event.

Throughout 2020, speaking up for yourself was heavily exemplified and an effective way to promote change. Whether you may speak up globally or within your community, learning to utilize your voice serves the same purpose – to advocate for what you believe in and be unified with others to overcome difficulties.

The Spoken Word Event: Voices of Understanding to Overstand hosted by the New Brunswick Cultural Center over the Zoom platform, provided insight to a unique way you can use your voice and this was through poetry. Just like how each person has their differences, poems each have a style unique to the writer.

Although I attended the event without knowing the speaker’s backgrounds, the poetry spoke for itself. Each poem that was presented strongly depicted the writer’s point whether it was about political beliefs or mental health.

“I have a dream that sees these 12 year olds one day writing and reciting poetry. Because through poetry, I am free to be me,” said Justan Mitchell while he recited his poem, “Poison on to Me”.

In the past, Mitchell had been going through tough situations and had to see a counselor who recommended for him to start journaling. This eventually led Mitchell to find a passion towards rhyming the words he wrote and putting meaning behind them. During this journey, he was inspired to write “Poison on to Me”.

Father like son, Amiri Mitchell spoke up by performing two raps during the event.

“Just like what’s going on right now, if we all stick together as a team, we can all make it through this pandemic,” said Amiri as he explained his inspiration to write one of his raps, “We’ll See Better Days”.

Another speaker, Tanisha Jacob, expressed aspects such as her political views, equality, mental health and a reflection of 2020’s quarantine through poems as well.

“Most of my poems are pretty much about my life and things I went through and “Mind’s Journey” is something I just thought of because there are a lot of people who are mentally enslaved. It’s a mixture of whether it’s me writing about my situations or seeing through the eyes of others,” said Jacob as she describes the background story of her poems.

Last but not least, Ras Ujimma Parris, also presented topics such as the Pledge of Allegiance and some of the issues and unfairness going on in the world.

Thus, he gave information on additional initiatives that happen as well. “There’s an initiative called Hub City Sounds and it’s a summer festival. There’s a bunch of festivals where people get together. It may be pretty virtual as the pandemic is taking a toll. But, that’s a great opportunity for people to become aware of a bunch of multicultural ideas, activities and festivals. From Latino festivals. Caribbean festivals, Indian festivals, and etc. You can always go to Arts New Brunswick and get lots of information there.”

Furthermore, this event strongly presents the overarching idea of speaking up for yourself in more ways than one. Especially with the utilization of poetry, the speakers recited poems and raps with great meaning and emphasis on their perspectives and beliefs.

Attending this event truly reflected inspiration and creativity of using your voice to pioneer for change.

Therefore, just like Ujimma said, “Let’s take time to double our efforts and to take time for communication and make poetry pop, pop, pop, pop, pop!”