Poetry and music have a lot of power. They can help us to express ourselves. They can help us to turn the world into a more just place, both on a global and on a local level.
If we give young people the opportunity to think and write about the world and give their words a space, these words might start the kind of change we are waiting for.
That is what the Peace Poets are doing. They are a group of young artist educators who use spoken word poetry, theater and music to teach young persons to find their voice. The workshops offered by the group “focus on youth empowerment, conflict resolution, community healing and cultural identity”. They want to “deconstruct race, class and gender as a community”. They also work with people in youth- and detention centers. Besides, the Peace Poets are great spoken word poets themselves. Find some of their work here.
Here is a taste of some young poets who got a voice thanks to the Peace Poets:
Similarly, in Britain Music for Change tries to give young people a chance to express themselves. They bring topics like citizenship and identity to schools, giving the children the possibility to experiment with music and tell their story. The youngsters also get the chance to encounter new cultures through dancing and singing. The people from Music for Change say about themselves: “Our aim is to allow all people to fulfill their creative potential whilst respecting and celebrating cultural diversity.”
Finally, check out the following documentary to see how music can change young people’s lifes. El Sistema – Music to Change Life tells the story of Dr. José Antonio Abreu who gathered a group of children to play in an orchestra in Caracas Venezuela. The movement has grown ever since. “It now teaches music to 300,000 of Venezuela’s poorest children, demonstrating the power of ensemble music to dramatically change the life trajectory of hundreds of thousands of a nation’s youth while transforming the communities around them.” Find out more about the project at elsistemausa.org and see that it is spreading all around the world now. Here’s a little excerpt of the documentary: