The following spoken pieces were performed during our final performance.  When we dual orators presented at once, their speeches have been separated by author.

Concealed, by Talia

Concealed. I’m concealed because I choose to protect the force within me. I may seem shy or withdrawn, but really I am keeping my thoughts and passions concealed.

I hold my shine within, holding back the power until I feel like unraveling. The brilliance within me glows. It is powerful, like an electric flow throughout my body. My presence is like two open arms, approachable to those who are looking to see what’s really in me.

I reflect back on my life, re-living the emotions, the moments, the hurt… the love, the joy, the memories. All that I have been has caused me to stay hidden behind the crowd.

When I’m on stage I feel comfortable letting my emotions free through the movements in my body. I am no longer concealed. I am safe in my expression and aware of my power.

Unexplainable, by Rudjy
My soul burns into fire whenever I see your figure.

It burns deep, real deep with a permanent trail that I can follow.
Carved into wood is a resemblance of what’s within you.
Behind the lines is the real you.
The glow across your aspects sets you apart from the rest
A beautiful view that I get by looking at you
Into your eyes, I see the sun rising and going down.
At times I feel like I can stop and escape time
Unexplainable but plain. Simple to see.

Dark blue and grey, by Justice Bradshaw
Dark blue and grey. Off on a bad start. left school and wasn’t speaking to no one at all. Everything felt wrong… Walked straight home, seen a couple of faces, stopped for only one person who stopped the velocity of my paces.  A “Hey was sup?” and a “what’s going on Jay?” …said a few words, everything ended with an “ok.”

…his chocolate skin made me feel safe and his promising brown eyes made me feel good again… but once I climbed the stairs to my apartment that dreadful bad feeling came back, crawling… It felt like a bad friend, like a bad dream with a bad end..

BANG!     Bang!     BANG!

Pressed against the window, Cedrick’s face blank as he melted into the streets.
I’m over him, his hand in mine. Bathroom towels sticky trying to stop the blood.
White T red…Blood black jeans..gold chain glistening in the sun as they took him away.
They said he’s gone….

…She laid next to me. What else could she do?
Time stretched the way it does when you’re sick…
...dark blue and grey behind the eyes.

This way to life, by Mercedes Wallace
Laying on the bed, staring at an empty closet in the corner of the room.
A loud, fast bang at the door
This way to life

More banging
Everything is silent except the radio
The lock clicks open and her sister bursts in
Tears rushing down her face, splattering her grey tank-top
Pants hanging because they're so big

Everything is silent
Except the radio

What happened?
Threats, standing, and yelling
Call the police – doorbells ring
 Mom called from upstairs
she walks slowly through the long dark hallway
Shuts off the radio

Listening through the wall
This way to Life.

I Disagree, I don't disrespect, by Mohammed Waheduddin
I once had a religious mentor. This mentor taught me to be a good Muslim. He modeled what a good Muslim should be. I looked up to him as an idol.  This all changed when he told me that a good Muslim can’t draw people or animals. I was shocked. I was furious. How could the Lord I praise prevent me from doing something I love? But as a Muslim I had to follow the rule, even if I didn’t agree.
For months I didn’t draw anything – depression set in. It even led to giving up my religious practices. My parents eventually came to me and said, “You can still draw and be a good Muslim, because the Lord wants you to be happy.” I felt like taking their advice but my mentor’s advice prevented me.  I was conflicted.

I looked within myself. I decided that I should draw, because it’s my life. I can draw and still be a good Muslim.  Others may say I am going against the Lord’s demands. I disagree but I don’t disrespect; I do my best to please the Lord. I still respect my mentor but I don’t agree with him. I believe the Lord will accept me as an artist and a Muslim.

The best part of me, by Ethan Brazo
Music drives the best parts of me. It’s my treasured part of me, a gift that I love.

Sometimes I think I run on music. I don’t know what it is but my family makes me crave music.
Everything inspires me to do music.

I hear every noise around me creating music from the different sounds, colors, textures in my surroundings.
The music in my head reflects the mood I’m in, what I feel, and when I can’t say something in words I can say it in music but not everybody can understand that.

When it comes to my music it’s me but it’s bigger than that, so big it’s hard to understand.