Spoken Word Poetry and Civil Rights - Mid-Pacific Institute

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Spoken Word Poetry and Civil Rights

Curriculum Snapshot

Posted on January 25, 2017 by Scot Allen

Last week our MPX 10 Humanities class completed our spoken word poetry and civil rights unit with a huge exhibition at UH Manoa. Each student wrote a spoken word poem centered on an individually selected social justice issue in the USA. Students then memorized, practiced, and performed these poems in front of a large audience and judges from publications at UH.

The students did an incredible job of critically thinking about their selected social justice issues. They contemplated its pervasiveness in our culture, in our schools, and in their families. Our spirits of activism ignited when we began discussing our involvement (both voluntary and involuntary) in these issues. I spoke with students about getting involved with and volunteering at different organization, about how to publish their voices in support of or against a certain problem, and about how they, despite their age, are integral to the success of our democracy.


I encourage anyone who has taught our MPX 10 students previously or who is teaching them currently to ask for permission to read their poems. They are moving, wise beyond their years, and poignant. We look forward to, hopefully, getting a few of our poems formally published!

A few words from students:

"I feel that I did I really good job of writing my poem. I felt that I was really connected to my topic and ideas for my poem were flowing out of me like a river after a hard night's rain."

"Our voices matter and what we say can have a big impact on the people around us and the community."

-- Lyssa Zawalski