Activist community

New Festival Honors Poet Laureate, Author, Activist and Community Leader of Syracuse Jackie Warren-Moore

As long as someone says your name, you never leave, said Jackie Warren-Moore to her youngest daughter, Mia Moore.

And Warren-Moore’s legacy will live on, as the Paul Robeson Performing Arts Company (PRPAC) has created a festival to honor her life and work as a writer, columnist, activist, community leader and poet laureate. from Onondaga County: the Jackie Warren -Moore Monologue and Poetry Festival.

The company celebrates 40 years of educating and empowering black and brown youth in the creative arts.

Those who knew Warren-Moore, who died last August, remember the power of her words. A conversation with the poet might have you questioning how you were raised to see the world, said friend and colleague Karin Franklin-King.

“All of his poetry makes you think, makes you react in a certain way,” said Franklin-King, who serves on the PRPAC board and is an active member and mentor. “She managed to make you mad at her, or thoughtful, or sympathetic or at least understanding and stepping back for a moment with your own anger or issues and saying, hmm, I never thought of that. way.”

Warren-Moore’s reach went beyond the PRPAC, of ​​which she is credited with being an anonymous co-founder, as she worked frequently with local schools, parents and taught in upstate New State prisons. York,” Moore said.

“Anyone knew they could come see my mom and not risk any persecution for what was going on in their life,” Moore said. “My mother was not judging. She didn’t care about your past.

After his passing, PRPAC considered ways to continue Warren-Moore’s mission to empower young people with art.

“We thought what better (way to honor his) legacy than to produce little Jackies,” Franklin-King said. “We call them Word Warriors because Jackie had often said to use your words as a weapon. Not your fist, not your weapons, none of that. Use your words.

Like Jackie, the festival is a collaborative, community-based effort, Franklin-King said. It will include a performance by an ensemble from the Syracuse Community Choir, a raffle of the poet’s books by the Black Artist Collective and performances by little Jackies, including Alaa Laila, 17, and Warren-Moore’s granddaughter, 14. . Nya Jordan.

“I struggled a lot with mental health, depression and anxiety,” Laila said. “So poetry and writing and journaling has always been my escape.”

Laila, who immigrated to Syracuse nearly five years ago from Syria, said her poetry focuses on mental health, self-harm, relationships, love and identity. Her performance on Sunday will take the form of a slam incorporating Warren-Moore’s work through an Arab-Muslim lens.

“Jackie is such a powerful woman, and I really like the way she took her stand,” Laila said. “She’s not afraid to talk about sensitive and tough topics with her poetry. That’s what inspired me.

Jordan was practically born and raised within the PRPAC community.

“Growing up, I got to see theater,” Jordan said. “I was going to rehearsals with my grandmother and the Paul Robeson Performing Arts Company and I started liking it.”

Her work focuses on bullying, inequality and kindness, and for her performance on Sunday she will read two of her grandmother’s poems, ‘On the Death of Civility’ and ‘Games’.

As the PRPAC began planning the event, Franklin-King said the young artists impressed her as they discussed local and national politics, philosophical questions about self and relationships.

“One of the kids said, ‘If I had to write a play, I’m just going to call it why,'” Franklin-King said. “

For Laila and Jordan, poetry meant more than words on paper.

“We are the future,” Laila said. “We have a voice that needs to be heard. A lot of us, especially Gen Z, have strong opinions and I think they should be heard, especially because some of us can’t vote.

Without the right to vote, poetry and art become the only way for young people to have a say in politics, to say what they want and what matters, Laila said. Jordan said poetry gives young people the ability to express themselves without fear of judgment and find community.

“When I’m in a workshop or a show or whatever, I feel like I can be myself,” she said. “I don’t have to hide, I don’t have to hide behind anything, and people my age don’t get a lot of opportunities to do that.”

This is just the beginning, Franklin-King said, as the Jackie Warren-Moore Monologue and Poetry Festival will grow and evolve, allowing the laureate poet to continue guiding her beloved community for years to come.

“Whenever you need advice, look up in the sky and talk to Jackie Warren-Moore, because she’ll listen and send you a sign,” Moore said. “She lives through us.”

If you are going to:

When: Sunday July 17, from 8:30 p.m. to 9:15 p.m.

Where: Everson Museum Museum of Art Outdoor Plaza – 401 Harrison St.

How many? Free, but donations are welcome

Rain plan/other info: If it rains, the event will be moved indoors and will start at 7 p.m. Masks are recommended and guests are encouraged to bring a chair or blanket.

For more information about the event, visit: http://theprpac.org/syr/event/