“Hey guys. My name is Ashly Shue, I’m 15 years old. I go to East Detroit High School. Your presentation was amazing. I’ve had a lot of struggles. My father is an alcoholic…and has almost died. Also three of my grandmothers had cancer. They survived. Gabriel, I admire you for going through that. And Kirk…I know how it feels to be abused, and I’ve built a barrier of my own too. You guys broke it down earlier today. Thank you both for coming to my school. I admire you both. Thank you so much.”Ashly Shue
Speak It Forward (SiF) has been a registered 501(c)3 since 2009 and it’s mission is:
- Speak it Forward, Inc., is dedicated to transforming the lives of youth and adults by using spoken-word poetry as a vehicle to raise awareness, challenge stereotypes, break down barriers and instill a sense of empowerment and community.
SiF believes that it is our vulnerability that makes us strong, not just as people, but also as speakers. Learning to take “what we know” and turning it into a deeper awareness of our world through writing is what makes Kirk and Gabriel’s poetry universal and tangible to audiences and this is why they co-founded the non-profit arm of their work, Speak It Forward Inc.
Through fun, funny and emotionally poignant activities and dialogue, we are able to tap into the potential of a writer (student, professional, you name it) and unleash that potential through the art of spoken word. The educational process takes people on a journey from self-exploration to one of personal transformation through the use of poetry mechanics, word play and raw honesty. Then we share (through performances) our “scars”, as they exist in our lives and in our writings, with each other. It is this powerful sharing that makes us better writers, better people and more connected with the world around us.