CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A group of local young men who use poetry to motivate and empower others is trying to beat the odds and perform at the White House. You can even help them get there. We went to Cleveland's east side for this week's Romona's Kids.
The Distinguished Gentlemen of Spoken Word are African-American young men ages 8-18 who study the art of performance poetry. They learn the works of Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Shakespeare, and Langston Hughes among others, plus learn to write various forms of poetry of their own.
The group has performed at festivals, community centers, nursing homes and even the American Embassy in Paris.
"I was very shy and introverted in school and I didn't really reach out and talk to the people around me," said member Marcus Litman. "Through the group I've learned to be confident in myself and express myself in ways that I didn't know before."
"Being in this group has actually helped me out a lot in school and with my academics," said member Mujahid Hamzah. "It gives me an idea of what a man should be, how to have proper etiquette."
The goal is for members to stay drug-free, stay in school and serve their community.
"Young people will innately rise to the bar that you set for them and we set the bar (high) so even if you start low you just keep going until you exceed that," said honey Bell-Bey, the group's founder and director.
"Our dream is to perform for President Barack Obama before he leaves office and we are calling on Cleveland to help us," said member Jaleel Pegues.
They started a PETITION on the White House website.
"We've tried so many different ways to get to the White House, by sending letters, books, CD's, and videos," said Pegues. "Performing for him is something that's symbolism of how a dream can proper in a young man's life."
"I think if we try our best and do what we can, we can get there," said Hamzah.
If you'd like to help make their dream come true click here to SIGN the petition.
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