On 6 November 2014, the Social Justice and Equity Committee held a Spoken Word Café to fundraise, raise awareness about the Committee, and inspire young artists by exposing them to the power of poetry.

The event began at about 12:15 PM, and ran for half an hour until the end of lunch. For an entry fee of $1, students were welcomed into the library and offered snacks. Including the speakers and attendees, around 50 students turned out to participate in the Spoken Word Café.

Students listened attentively to the various speakers. Photo: Arfana Mulla

Students listened attentively to the various speakers. Photo: Arfana Mulla

Introduced by Social Justice Convenor Jackie Ho, the event kicked off with guest speaker Randell Adjei, the founder of RISE Poetry Edutainment, speaking about his past and his involvement with spoken word. He began by reciting a powerful poem titled ‘Mama Africa,’ which addressed equality and other issues in the community. He finished with a second poem, ‘Art is Power,’ a piece about how art saved him. “I wouldn’t be here without it,” said Randell solemnly. The attendees listened closely, captivated with his every word.

The event continued with seven student speakers reciting poetry. The poems covered a variety of topics and issues, including mental illness, graduation, pain, religion, and war. They were mostly self-written, with the exception of one recited from a book.

One of the most popular poems addressed the wearing of the hijab, and was presented by Amna Sabowala and Alvira Sheikh. When asked about her inspiration, Alvira responded: “While working on a presentation for Islamic History Month, I realized just how many people look at us [hijab wearers] from a different point of view. We found out that the Spoken Word Café was taking place today, so why not write a poem about it?”

Overall, the attendees enjoyed the quiet introspective lunchtime. “It was really inspirational and was a good learning experience,” commented Grade 11 student Saffiya Lulat, “and it was fun too.” All in all, the Café raised $65.00 to go towards future events run by the Social Justice and Equity Committee. For students interested in joining, they meet every Wednesday at lunch in room 221.