On Wednesday, April 10, a group of Access Living Youth met at the Harold Washington Library in the South Loop for the library’s weekly “Lyricist Loft” Open Mic. Every Wednesday, Chicago youth meet at the library’s YOUmedia space for an evening of spoken word, music, and poetry. According to the library, the Open Mic is an opportunity for youth “to perform their work in a space for and about public expression.” The event is hosted by the iRemix Spoken Word Program and features select student and professional performers from across the city. Teh’ray Hale, known as Phenon, a youth organizer and poet on the South and West Side of Chicago, hosted the Open Mic.
photo of group of young people sitting in a semi circle in the Chicago Public Library.
Brittany King, a member of Access Living’s Empowered Fe Fes, attended the event. She enjoyed the readings and said “I liked it because it was a welcoming environment that made you feel like you were at a concert or something.” Brittany has been a member of the Fe Fes for four years and attends Truman College, from which she plans to graduate with an Associate Degree in two years. Brittany is currently working on a piece of poetry. She hopes to return to the Lyricist Loft later in the summer and perform the piece.
Tiffany Patterson, a Staff Associate at Access Living, and a member of Reaching Our Dreams and Advance Youth Leadership Power, also went to the Open Mic. Though she was hesitant to attend at first because the event would go late in to the evening, Tiffany said, “When I got there, I really liked it. I liked that everyone was talented and I liked the poetry.” Tiffany doesn’t call herself a poet, but, like Brittany, she’d like to go back again someday.
Poets or not, everyone had a great time at the Open Mic on April 10.