Social Justice: Thinking about Equality in Teen Spirit

Posted on: 20th February 2015

“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labour to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body” (Walt Whitman).

Following on from last week’s theme of social justice, one workshop at Teen Spirit this week used spoken word to articulate unequal opportunities and rights that have shaped societies.

Members watched three different spoken word clips, including ‘The Period Poem’ by Dominique Christina, an inspiring and empowering piece which will no doubt evoke a surprising reaction from whoever watches it. No one will ever shame a girl and her period again. In the introduction she states “when my daughter first started her period she walked out the bathroom looking like she died or something… so I threw her a period party… everyone came dressed in red, red food, red cups, all red everything”.

The clip stirred varied reactions from members; some viewed it as a bit ‘extreme’ but they all agreed that they should be confident and not awkward about the cycle of menstruation.

After watching several similar thought-provoking speeches, members began to create their own poems. They were given a list of prompts listing the five senses; I see, I hear, I feel, and other verbs like I want, I wonder and I am. Below is one example:

I am self-assured, I decide on my own
I wonder about our purpose in life
I wonder about my future and what I will become
I hear the voice of reason within myself
I see a person who I want to become
I want to travel, I want to explore life
I am self-assured, I decide on my own
Sometimes I pretend to be someone I am not so I can experience difference
I feel like I am on a journey in discovering who I am
I am self-assured, I decide on my own



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