In July 2016, Youth Speaks, a global leader in youth development and spoken word performance, hosted its 19th Annual Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival. The festival provided a stage to over 550 powerful young voices, representing 55 cities and organizations from around the world, while empowering the most outstanding youth poets to address the most pressing and current issues facing our country including social justice, the presidential election, immigration, education and gender equality through spoken word. In addition to the slam competition, the selected youth poets also participated in panel conversations with policy and thought leaders.
Inspired by Youth Speaks’ organizational mission of creating safe spaces that challenge young people to find and apply their voices as creators of societal change, RALLY elevated the stories of Millennial and Gen-Z poets who participated in the Brave New Voices festival at the Kennedy Center to inspire young artists across the country.
In attracting top tier media and influencers to this youth-driven festival, RALLY raised the profile of Youth Speaks nationwide, as well as in Washington, D.C., and attracted new poets to engage in the organization.