2014 Conference Keynote Address
4th Grader Asean Johnson and his mother Shoneice Reynolds moderated by Ama Codjoe.
Part 2 of the Conference Opening: Intro’s, Urban Word Poet and Peace Poets
Thanks Norm Scott for videotaping this and every year!
Shoneice Reynolds is a mother of two young men: Krisean, a sophomore at Urban Prep Charter, and Asean, a 4th grader at Marcus Garvey in Chicago. Shoneice stared her activism in 2012 with the CTU Strike. She participated as a union member and a parent, along with her then 9-year old son, Asean Johnson. Their passion for public education grew in January 2013 when Chicago Public Schools announced the proposed closing of over 100 public elementary schools, including Asean’s school, Marcus Garvey. Shoneice and Asean became involved in the Save Marcus Garvey School Campaign. They started a petition, letter drives to elected officials, community rallies, and other events to get the community involved. Shoneice and Asean gained national attention when Asean delivered a heartfelt, impromptu speech to save his school. After all the community efforts, Marcus Garvey was saved from closing!
Shoneice and Asean continue to be a national voice for parents and students in education and have been featured in several documentaries and interviewed widely. They continue to fight against education reform, high stake testing, unequal funding, racial inequalities, and lack of teacher-parent-student voice. Shoneice encourages parents and students to hold elected officials responsible for the disinvestment in public education. She is an active member of Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), C.O.R.E, and newly founded Badass Moms (BAM).
Ama Codjoe is an educator and emerging poet with roots in Memphis and Accra. She is a Cave Canem graduate fellow. Her work has been published in the Tidal Basin Review, on the Feminist Wire, and in Cave Canem Anthology XII. Ama lives and works in the Bronx, New York. She is the Lead Teaching Artist of the DreamYard ACTION Project, a social justice and arts program for high school youth and the Associate Director of Professional Development for the DreamYard Art Center. She has been a part of NYCoRE for seven years.
Spoken Word Performance by Urban Word Poet: Briannah Hagger is a 20- year-old poet from Queens. This Urban Word Poet has served as a youth board of directors and also a youth poet Ambassador. She’s been on the Apollo stage, New Amsterdam Theater and now Barclay’s. Hagger is majoring in Forensic Psychology at John Jay. Urban Word NYC provides FREE, safe and uncensored writing workshops to teens year round, and hosts the Annual NYC Teen Poetry Slam, NY Knicks Poetry Slam, local and national youth slams, festivals, reading series, open mics, and more. http://www.urbanwordnyc.org/uwnyc/
The Peace Poets are a collective of artists that celebrate, examine and advocate for life through music and poetry. Their art can take you on a journey from the Boogie Down to Berlin, from the border to the bodega. Their style emphasizes lyricism, rhythm and authenticity. They hail from the Bronx and have been rocking the mic since 2005.