This article was written in partnership with the student-run radio station, The BLAZE.
By Brittney Austin
Since 1991, Louder Than a Bomb, also known as LTAB has been both a tool and a space for youth to share their voices through many forms of writing. It is the largest poetry slam competition in the world that features over 1,000 participants’ courtesy of Young Chicago Authors. Louder Than a Bomb is more than just a space where high school youth from Chicago can convene; it is the ultimate platform for freedom of speech and creativity.
Many of the youth who participate originate from the West and South Sides of Chicago. Often when we hear about these areas within the city, they are echoed with stereotypes of violence and poverty. However, there is much more to these neighborhoods than violence. Young Chicago Authors work as mentors to assist youth with elevating their writing in a way that impacts not only the lives of the individuals, but those in their communities.
Something in common with all the poets were the topics discussed. This ranged from systematic racism within institutions that educate to analogies paralleled with the black experience and rape. Melinda Hernandez, a senior at Pritzker College Prep, wrote her poem about how she overcame her experience.
Following the event, she tweeted, “Today, a girl told me she was sexually assaulted 5 years ago, and she finally told her story because of my poem. That’s why I write.”
To watch each of these individuals get up on stage and bare their battles was not only inspirational to me, but the other 500 plus people in the room. It’s an honor that Melinda has agreed to come share her experiences with LTAB on KNOW Justice KNOW Peace, a radio talk show aired through The BLAZE here at Roosevelt University. Tune in Wednesdays from 7p.m. to 8 p.m. on wrbc.fm to hear more about it!