North Texas Daily

Poetic Justice allows students to speak personal truths

Poetic Justice allows students to speak personal truths

Poetic Justice allows students to speak personal truths
October 21
09:00 2018

By Ayron Walker

Passion fills the air as strangers stand onstage, finding the courage within themselves to perform. Faces stare in awe at the talent they are witnessing, and some even fight back tears. Performance after performance, someone in the room is affected by the story of another.

This is a typical Tuesday night at Poetic Justice, an organization created in 2011 to give a safe space to people at UNT that possess any form of creative abilities. Whether it be poets, dancers, musical artists, writers, photographers or painters, Poetic Justice is a creative outlet for any person that has something to say.

“This was the one place on campus throughout the week where you can come and speak your truth at UNT, and it grew like a flame,” director of ambassadors Tina Burrell said.

The executive board is passionate about working hard to connect the members of their organization with people in the field while evolving the talents of their registered members. Last year, Poetic Justice introduced the Ambassadors Program, where they were able to bring in mentorship for their members, and not just in the sense of honing their craft, but through their daily life.

“Poetic Justice is a safe space that is meant for networking,” vice president Kaci Mitchell said.

The organization wants to be able to connect their members with photographers, videographers, promotional teams and other artists so that they can continue to feed that creative passion that their members possess. Just a year ago, Mitchell, Burrell and other members on the executive board were a part of the first Ambassadors Program, where they recognized the need for more in the program.

“We saw what was right about the program and what was wrong about the program, so when we were able to actually step up to the plate and get into the executive positions we decided we wanted to [change] the program completely,” Burrell said.

They understand the value of networking, so they decided to tailor it to be more about creating important bonds with others, and connect their members with people in their field.

“Our executive board is very diverse,” Burrell said. “We believe in using what we have to help others.”

They found themselves wanting to take people that are passionate about their craft to a place where they can intensely focus on their passion through workshops, mentoring, and influential speakers and ultimately grow as creatives. Poetic Justice has not had an opportunity like this for their members before, so they created an exclusive retreat for those who signed up.

“There hasn’t been anything on campus yet that has actually taken people away and brings them back anew and [as] leaders,” Burrell says.

In addition to the organization’s dedication to shaping their members into the best versions of themselves, the group itself is strong.

“In every aspect, we are a real family,” president Keishun Hickerson said. “It’s just genuine people, genuine love.”

Week after week, more and more people come to listen to spoken word and to music by up and coming artists. People even find the courage within themselves to “speak their truth” — one of the core etiquettes at Poetic Justice.

“To me, it’s a safe space in which we allow all of our members to freely speak and feel like they are being heard,” Burrell said.

Poetic Justice has also spurred members to stay creative.

“Everyday I would want to quit writing or quit singing, or just quit doing the things that I loved,” Mitchell said. “But coming to [Poetic Justice] and seeing people be touched by what I do was a big thing for me.”

At least 150 people attend Poetic Justice every week and the organization continues to promote growth, such as social skills and writing skills, among their members. Even if members do not want to perform, the executive board strongly encourages their attendees to come and be touched by another person’s art.

“Performing isn’t a requirement,” Mitchell said. “We love listeners as much as we love performers.”

Get connected with Poetic Justice on Twitter and find out more about where Poetic Justice will be hosted this week @UNTxPJ.

Featured Image: Poetic justice member reciting their poetry on Tuesday. Ayron Walker

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Amy Roh

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