CHICAGO — Four teens from Uptown and West Humboldt Park brought one of the biggest stories in Chicago front and center at a youth poetry slam in Atlanta this summer.
Vania Gutierrez, Sejahari Villegas, Jaharri Broadax and Victor Musoni, members of Kuumba Lynx Performance Ensemble, performed "Reparations" on the main stage of the "Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival" in July. The poem, which takes a look at the effects of the Jon Burge police torture scandal, was posted on the group's Facebook page earlier this week.
Take a look at the performance below:
"Recently, Chicago passed the first ever reparation ordinance recognizing the 110 victims being tortured by police. This poem is in dedication and honor of those victims," Villegas says as as the performance starts for Kuumba Lynx, an arts education and youth development organization founded in 1996 with a mission " working to provide access to programs that preserve, promote and present urban arts and culture," according to its website.
Before announcement that $5.5 million in reparations would be set aside for victims, the poem helped the team win this year's "Louder Than a Bomb" competition, which in turn got them invited to the annual youth slam poetry competition in Atlanta.
They performed the piece once they made it to the final stage because it "was most representative of the current movements in Chicago," according to Jacinda Bullie, a founder of Kuumba Lynx.
The team, made up of teens ages 14-16, finished 12 out of 57 teams at the festival. Villegas and Gutierrez are from West Humboldt Park and Broadax and Musoni are from Uptown, Bullie said.
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