This winter was rough on Chicago and everyone is looking forward to the warm weather over the next couple of months. I'm happy that the weather is turning for the better, but it also makes me very uneasy. During this time of year, violence around the country heightens in many cities and young people are at risk. I'm concerned for my cousins and my students safety.
I want to repost Jazmine McKinney's poem, 'Chi City Youth' to for many reasons. This spoken word poet eloquently describes the violence that Chicago's youth must face daily. McKinney's vivid description of the day-to-day struggle is not to be taken lightly and she does not hold back. This video is a 'real' and provides the listener with a true account of life in Chicago's from the lens of a young person.
This video is part of a projected funded in part by a City of Urbana Arts grant and produced by University of Illinois PhD student Raymond Morales. I encourage you to listen 12 audio works and several videos by six Illinois artists. The audio is available for download on Morales website at The Show 1045.
Like my friend said, "Poetry is a way for young people to express themselves, allow them to use a pen, paper and their authentic voice as their instrument."