From Poetry and Hip-Hop to Literacy and College

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The nonprofit youth literacy and advocacy organization Urban Word N.Y.C. and New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development kicked off their annual Pre-Emptive Education Conference by showcasing a series of young poets who were joined by adult panelists at the university's Kimmel Center.

The weekend-long conference included a series of workshops celebrating the use of spoken word poetry and hip-hop as a means for young people to heal, educate and advocate on behalf of others.

Daniele Fogel, an 11th-grade English teacher at the Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice in Brooklyn, said she brought several of her students to the event, “because it brings poetry alive, expresses emotion and is culturally relevant to the students.”

According to Urban Word N.Y.C.’s executive director, Michael Cirelli, the organization has worked with more than 16,000 students in 112 public schools, promoting literacy through college preparatory programs and by forming partnerships with universities to provide full-ride college tuition scholarships.

It is Urban Word’s fifth year of collaborating with N.Y.U. for the Pre-Emptive Education conference.