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Thursday 21 November 2019
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Letters to the Editor

Value of spoken word poetry

THE EDITOR: CCSJ’s and the Catholic Youth Commission’s 5th annual Spoken Word Competition was aired live on TCN on October 25. It focused on the theme for Justice, Peace, and Community Week: “The dignity of work.”

We need to “free-up” the school curriculum to develop the talents of our youth. Kathryn Michalko’s study “reveals that the use of spoken word poetry (SWP) in the classroom impacts the development of voice in writing.”

SWP “is a writing tool that will help students breed confidence and discover their self-identities through the art of performing.”

The teaching of SWP “is important because it addresses students’ critical thinking, democratic engagement, and empowers their voices through verse.”

Author Richard Lee-Thai says it is “a tool to mend broken souls, to inspire our citizens and to connect the community.”

We thank our contestants: Alexandria Douglas, Alliyah Cooper, Chevelle Neptune Francis, Mikayla Cassandra Weekes, Serapion Jones, and our first, second and third-prize winners, Malique Wilson (16 years, St Mary’s College), Kerlyssa De Verteuil (15 years, St Joseph’s Convent, St Joseph) and Coryal Sylvester (19 years, UWI).

We also thank our judges: Kwame Weekes, Dianne Wells and Mickel Alexander; MCs: Dave Marcus and Lueann Henry; presenters: Caron Greaves, Cavelle Joseph St Omer, Donna Marie Alexander; performers: MORE; extempo group: Dylan Mohammed, Francois Sylvester, Nathaniel Williams; TCN team: Episcopal Delegate for Youth & Young Adults, Taresa Best-Downes and CYC’s events’ co-ordinator Rica Charles; CCSJ’s assistants: Lorna Chee-Wah and Cheryl Wallace.

Here is Malique Wilson’s SWP – first prize:

The Cycle of Life at Work

I am a worker

And I have rights

I just trying to make a dollar

So I can get to higher heights

But apparently

Me being employed and receiving a salary

Is proving to be a problem

For both you and me

You think because you have a “better place of employment”

That you could ill-treat me and give me your judgment?

I don’t care if you are in the 99 or the so-called one per cent

Treating me as if I am no more than one cent, means you think I am non-existent

I work hard for what I earn

Whether I’m a janitor, a security guard, a DJ or barber

Why do you want to kill me, burn me and put me in an urn

I think it’s because what I do, makes me happier than you

Now I’m sorry if you’re working a 9-5, trying to stay alive

And that what you do, is making you relive the 1990 coup everyday

I’m sorry that you have to hear your boss say

“You there! What you doing? Like you don’t want to get no pay?”

And this boss finds all the ways to always make you sin in different ways from the time you drive in to the time you sign out and especially during your breaks

But that doesn’t mean

That you have to make me feel smaller than a mustard seed

I am proud of what I do, it will forever be my passion

Even when I am forced to adorn myself in all sorts of weird fashions

Show me the same respect that you desire

Because we all running the same race, maybe just spinning different tires

I wanna wish you a Good Year that revolves happiness

So that you can share the love that comes from God’s kiss

Treat others as you would want to be treated

Hopefully the next time, my greeting would be returned with a Good morning

Now I don’t envy your occupation

We all have our part to play

I pride myself in mine, and I respect your station

So do me a favour, and have a nice day

I am a worker

And I have rights

I just trying to make a dollar

So I can get to higher heights.

LEELA RAMDEEN

chair, CCSJ

director, CREDI

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