Cy Springs students use poetry slam event to promote empowerment

April 20, 2018

Cypress Springs High School junior Clacey Core performs spoken word during the school’s poetry slam program April 20 as part of its No Place for Hate campaign
Cypress Springs High School junior Clacey Core performs spoken word during the school’s poetry slam program April 20 as part of its No Place for Hate campaign, which helps create and sustain inclusive school environments where students feel valued and have the opportunity to succeed by promoting respect for individual differences.

By Mya Banks and Lola Haastrup, Cypress Springs HS

April 20, 2018—As a No Place for Hate campus, Cypress Springs High School held a poetry slam throughout the day April 20 in the performance gym to promote empowerment, safety and positivity.

Cypress Springs High School junior Diamond Ramble (standing) speaks to senior Destiny Smith as part of her performance during the school’s poetry slam program
Cypress Springs High School junior Diamond Ramble (standing) speaks to senior Destiny Smith as part of her performance during the school’s poetry slam program April 20 as part of its No Place for Hate campaign. Ramble’s piece, Flawless, reflected on the issue of identity and fitting an image.

The event gave a number of students a platform to express their opinions and views, while also informing and teaching their fellow classmates about current social issues. Subjects covered and addressed during the performances included bullying, acceptance, celebration of culture, violence, change, education, family and safety. The topics were based on the idea of what the world could look like if it were perfect, said Ruqayya Gibson, Cypress Springs High School head girls’ track and field coach and the campus’ No Place for Hate sponsor.

Sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League, No Place for Hate is a program that helps create and sustain inclusive school environments where all students feel valued and have the opportunity to succeed by promoting respect for individual differences.

“We want to encourage students and teenagers to stand up if they want things to be changed,” Gibson said. “We can't just look at things that we think should be different, but not do anything. Each kid has to take action and see themselves as a leader, and become a leader for one another.”

Cypress Springs High School junior Ashford Kamau performs spoken word during the school’s poetry slam program April 20 as part of its No Place for Hate campaign.
Cypress Springs High School junior Ashford Kamau performs spoken word during the school’s poetry slam program April 20 as part of its No Place for Hate campaign.

Cypress Springs junior Diamond Ramble presented a piece called Flawless, which reflected on the issue of identity and fitting an image. Fellow junior Damilare Bamgbose spoke on the social issue of bullying, specifically as it related to immigrants. It included her own personal experience.

: Cypress Springs High School junior Daya Negron performs spoken word during the school’s poetry slam program
Cypress Springs High School junior Daya Negron performs spoken word during the school’s poetry slam program April 20 as part of its No Place for Hate campaign, which helps create and sustain inclusive school environments where students feel valued and have the opportunity to succeed by promoting respect for individual differences.

“This program means a lot and gives me confidence to know my voice can finally be heard,” Bamgbose said.

The program was held in each of the final six periods of the day, with classes rotating into the performance gym. Gibson and members of the principal’s advisory council started each program, welcoming the crowd.

Each also began with a moment of silence, giving each student a chance to reflect on those affected by violence.

A packed Cypress Springs High School performance gym listens to senior Naquia Lokhandwala (right) during the school’s poetry slam program April 20. Students performed throughout the day as the program was held in each of the final six periods of the day.
A packed Cypress Springs High School performance gym listens to senior Naquia Lokhandwala (right) during the school’s poetry slam program April 20. Students performed throughout the day as the program was held in each of the final six periods of the day.

And through their snapping of fingers, ringing of keys and clapping of hands, audience members acknowledged the performers and the message.

“I think it’s amazing that as students regardless of our age, we were given the opportunity to speak out against the wrongs that happen in society, and be able to motivate others and start the change,” said Cypress Springs junior Anastasia De Silva, who presented a piece during the program on unalienable rights.

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