Speak Yo’ Truth gives students a platform for expressing their struggles with poetry

In Lifestyle
(Mattison Cano / Daily Titan)

Lights dimmed in the Titan Student Union Underground Pub, setting the mood for Speak Yo’ Truth on Tuesday, an open mic poetry night for the Cal State Fullerton community.

The environment of Speak Yo’ Truth was kept safe and judgment free so students had the opportunity to be vulnerable and share their personal pieces. Anyone who volunteered could recite any type of poetry, which gave students an open platform.

“This is actually a safe space for people to be themselves, not to worry about any judgment but to actually be here in the moment. That’s how you create community, at least that is what we believe here,” said Gabriel Ponce, Speak Yo’ Truth coordinator.

Emotions can run high in the pub as some poets have broken down in tears while delivering their work. Audience members snap, clap, nod their heads and even raise their hands for any part of the poem that they connect with, showing the poet that they are not alone.

“I love to see people cry sometimes because it lets you know they are really feeling it. When people have those high-end emotions, they are allowed to cry, to laugh, to just feel good. That’s what I love most about these events,” Ponce said.

The poem topics range from personal trials to mental health and they encompass all genres and styles. Students are able to put their personality into their work and can recite as many times as they would like.

This particular open mic night supported Disability Awareness Month, giving those who are not able-bodied a platform to speak on the matter. However, poets did not have to stick to this theme to participate in the open mic night.

“I think we forget that arts can be used as healing processes. Even just something as an open mic is such an important thing because folks get to finally come and find a community and a voice. It can be the spark,” said Mike “Hoodprofet” Davis, featured poet.

Hoodprofet was a guest performer at Speak Yo’ Truth who unleashed his truths to the CSUF community. Some students, like Chanelle Romero, came to the event specifically to hear him recite poetry.

The audience was filled with supportive people who encouraged those who had the courage to step up to the microphone. The energy was consistently positive and supportive throughout the night.

As the evening carried on, more people began to sign up to recite a piece once they saw their peers perform. Students began to get more comfortable as they related to other students’ trials.

“There’s mental health problems that we go through, there’s bills that need to be paid, there’s grades that need to be made and being able to allow this moment to consume you and to consume yourself into this moment is a beautiful thing,” Ponce said.

Students are able to connect to one another through the poems, creating an emotional bond amongst former strangers.

“It is just a bunch of passionate people who are willing to speak about their differences,” Romero said.

The next Speak Yo’ Truth will be on Nov. 13 in support of American Indian Heritage Month at 7 p.m. in the Titan Student Union Underground Pub. Students can drop in and share their stories and experiences once a month during these Tuesday meetings.

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