28 DAYS OF BLACK FUTURES
By Cori Lucas,
It’s imperative in raising the next generation of Black leaders to convince them their voice matters. DewMore Baltimore (DMB) is giving Baltimore’s young adults a platform to tell their stories and share their thoughts, and showing them how. DewMore Baltimore houses some of Baltimore’s most talented young Black poets and spoken word artists! Not only that, but DMB fosters relationships with over a dozen other institutions (e.g. organizations, government agencies, schools) in Baltimore that share their mission of empowering Black communities. Their artists’ thought-provoking performances serve a double purpose of building participants’ confidence in their voice, and shedding light on public issues—promoting community advocacy and activism through the recitation of their revealing thoughts and stories. DMB firmly believes in the importance of every member of the community being responsible for their community, for only through everyone’s active involvement in the community can we maximize and optimize its positive output.
Before DewMore Baltimore, the organization Poetry for the People was the home of the award-winning Baltimore City Youth Poetry Team (BCYPT). Poetry for the People eventually dissolved, and DewMore Baltimore took its place in 2013 guiding young artists through the poetry circuit. The BCYPT is trained by published authors and award-winning writers. Under DewMore Baltimore’s instruction, the BCYPT took first place in the 2016 Brave New Voices Competition—the largest international youth poetry slam!
Provided all the funding DewMore Baltimore needed to maximize their program, they would start by compensating their staff for their tireless diligence and dedication to giving their young poets the very best artistic education possible. This would also afford these passionate educators the ability to put money towards more resources and projects that they wish to do with their students—“and [they] don’t have to choose between that and taking care of [their] family,” Program Director Olufunmike Woods added ardently. She also declares zealously that they would make their annual DewMore Youth Poetry Festival “what Baltimore deserves even more”, complete with celebrity hosts and “old school” artists to promote intergenerational learning and broaden their organization’s reach. They would establish more programs throughout Baltimore, all of which would be youth-led. “Because they have the best ideas and their ideas are fresh from the universe, and it ends up being in alignment with what the community needs.” Their ideas would be validated through DewMore Baltimore’s number one priority and expense—the ability to execute their youth’s profound and colorful artistic ideas accurately and in real-time.
DewMore Baltimore is the home of several other programs outside of the BCYPT. Unmute is their virtual, social justice poetry club that holds weekly workshops led by professional artists and advocates. The Maya-Baraka Writers Institute is their summer program that guides youth through 5 weeks of concentrated writing training. To keep the inspiration flowing during the COVID-19 pandemic, DewMore started hosting #DewMoreInTheHouse. Their regular virtual meetings keep their youth engaged through content, open mics, poetry challenges and more! To view dates for their events or donate to Baltimore’s young advocate-poets, visit their page at https://cllctivly.org/listing/dewmore-baltimore/ follow them @dewmorebmore.