For many, a new year means a new start. For WordPlay, 2018 means new opportunities to showcase the power of storytelling. This Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, WordPlay Cincy will join in our city’s extraordinary day of events that honor King, hosted by the local MLK Coalition.
This year marks the MLK Coalition’s 43rd annual celebration of the holiday in Cincinnati and WordPlay’s fourth year participating. KeShawn Townsend, a student from WordPlay’s Scribes program, will perform an original work of poetry at the MLK Commemorative Celebration, beginning at 11:30 a.m. at Music Hall on Monday, Jan. 15th.
"For the past three years, teens from WordPlay Cincy Scribes have taken the stage by storm at MLK Day. This year is just as strong, with our lead teen poet being a 9th grader from Aiken New Tech High School who defines the stage as his home. His voice will push the urgency of change as he gives you his perspective of being a black teen male here in America,” Scribes Program Coordinator Desirae Hosley said.
Townsend has quickly become a Scribes standout since he was introduced to WordPlay as an 8th grader. Now fifteen years old, Townsend has found in Scribes a safe space to express himself through composing and performing his own work across the city. His passion for both has only grown as a result, leading him to the stage for this year’s MLK Day celebration.
“With the theme being ‘If Not Now, When?,’ having KeShawn share his story will illuminate the power of voice and how important it is to be the reflection of our ancestors," Hosley said.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Coalition, founded in 1978, has planned annual commemorative programs on the holiday every year for over 30 years. In addition to KeShawn’s performance this year, there will also be a commemorative march and an interfaith prayer service. You can find the full schedule of 2018 programs on the MLK Coalition website: https://mlkcoalition.org/about/
WordPlay Cincy is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Cincinnati's young people fulfill their potential by making connections through reading, writing and storytelling. Their creative literacy programs are made free for young participants thanks to the generosity of supporters like you. To read more about WordPlay's program offerings for young people, click here. For more information about WordPlay or to make a donation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.wordplaycincy.org.