Boston Brings Opportunity To Life Through “Speak The Change” at Emerson College

by Caroline Fothergill   •  

On one of the first days of my internship with Be the Change, Inc. I was given the wonderful task of organizing a spoken word event that combined poetry performances with a group discussion around the topics of jobs and economic opportunity. “Speak the Change” was the title that first came to mind, and it stuck. Dialogue is, after all, one of the best ways to generate ideas as a collective, and we must often speak the change we want to see in the world before we can be it.

After a few months of collaborating with active peers on the Emerson and Berklee College campuses, and with much support from the Opportunity Nation staff, Speak the Change: A Poetry Town Hall took place at Emerson’s Bill Bordy Theater in downtown Boston on Friday evening, May 4th. The event began with an intro by Opportunity Nation’s Justin Kang, followed by a section of original poetry performances that were both humbling in their honest descriptions of different shortages of opportunity in the country, and empowering in their calls for our Millennial generation to think differently, and make change. The poets were Donnie Welch and Kristen Parker of Emerson College, and Emmett Ceglia and Kat Hamilton of Berklee College of Music. Topics such as growing up, social media, sexuality, faith, poverty and unemployment were highlighted in the performances, generating both ample laughs and somber reflection from the audience, with a general theme of hope.

After a few moments of profound appreciation for the poetry, the group of about twenty-five participants ranging from students to Emerson Professor Dr. Phillip Glenn to Massachusetts State Representative Dan Winslow, circled up to discuss the performances. The group had a rich and fluent dialogue about jobs and opportunity in Boston, the importance of education and valuing educators who inspire their students, and our responsibility as young people to use our skills to foster positive change.

The event was a great success and ignited a flame in all of us to do what we love, always give back to the communities we came from, and work to create opportunity for ourselves and those generations on the way.

Caroline Fothergill

Opportunity Nation

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