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2019 Human Rights Day Event & Volunteer Engagement Fair

December 10, 2019

2019 Human Rights Day Event & Volunteer Engagement Fair

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UNA-Chicago is proud to present a unique event to recognize International Human Rights Day. On December 10, attendees will be able to learn about, and participate in (if they choose) a poetry slam with a focus on what human rights look like for different people.

Proceeds will benefit the Adopt-a-Future initiative, which provides life-saving support for Rohingya refugees through the United Nations High Commission on Refugees.

The evening will begin with a focused writing workshop to teach attendees the skills to empathize, evoke emotion about those different from you, and to try to understand the impact of having human rights revoked.

Members, non-members, extroverts with no poetry experience, introverts who want to perform a poem, sideliners who just want to observe…everyone is invited!

The event will also include UNA-Chicago’s annual meeting and elections.

This event is inspired by Nikki Patin, a UNA-Chicago partner in her role at the Chicago Alliance Against Exploitation (CAASE). Nikki took her love for poetry slams and used the art form to address the United Nations in Geneva in 2014 to express the history of sexual violence experienced by black women and girls in the United States.

For more information or for questions, please email feck@unachicago.org.

The (Human) Right to Slam

Poets are given 3 minutes to perform a poem but can’t use props, musical instruments or work that they themselves did not write. Each poem is scored 1-10 by five judges randomly selected from the audience. The lowest and highest scores are dropped and the middle three scores are calculated. The poet with the highest score wins. Poets who go over the 10 second grace period get a half point deduction for each 10 seconds they exceed the time. In contests where winners and losers are separated by a .1 difference, those time deductions can be brutal. A poetry slam that started with a handful of people in Uptown Chicago has become a global phenomenon, with slams happening everywhere from Germany to Jamaica to New Zealand.

For the UNA’s annual event this year, we’re giving our subscribers the opportunity to participate in our own poetry slam! If you had the opportunity to address the UN for 3 minutes in the form of a poem, what would you say? On December 10th, we’ll host a workshop to help you write your own slam poem and then we’ll host a slam for the first 10 people who sign up! There will be a prize for the top performer.

To find out more about poetry slam, please check out this link: https://www.powerpoetry.org/actions/5-tips-slam-poetry

Here’s the link to the piece in the The Guardian, which includes Nikki’s historic address: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/03/emotional-justice-what-black-women-want-and-need

Here’s a link to one of Nikki’s favorite slam poems, “Skinhead” by Patricia Smith: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvTzt_eifqU

More about Nikki Patin:

Currently Nikki Patin is the Community Engagement Director at the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE).

For the past 20 years, Nikki has taught workshops on gender bias/violence, spoken word, solo performance, body image, anti-oppression topics, songwriting, sexual assault prevention and LGBT 101 and Trans 101 for young people and adults in elementary schools, high schools, colleges/universities, community organizations and in the juvenile justice system. I’ve also facilitated many professional development workshops for graduate students, school faculties and administrations.

Nikki has been part of the Chicago arts and advocacy landscape for the last decade, developing curricula, managing teaching artists, coordinating programming and developing innovative arts/social justice programming for such notable organizations as Urban Gateways, the Chicago Humanities Festival, the Chicago Park District and After School Matters.

As an outspoken advocate and activist around gender and reproductive rights, Nikki has dedicated her life to creating a safe world for women and young people. Recently, Nikki was nominated to speak on behalf on Black Women’s Blueprint, in collaboration with the US Human Rights Network, on the assembly floor of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.  When she addressed the United Nations about the history of sexual violence experienced by Black women and girls in the U.S. in 2014, she relied on her early years as a slam poet to use her two minutes of presentation time to its maximum capacity. Her historic address was later highlighted in The Guardian and illustrates the power and beauty of an affirming, transformative, life-changing art form that invites the audience to actively participate and decide which poet has made the greatest impact in an evening.



December 10, 2019


150 N Riverside Plaza #3000
Chicago, Illinois 60606
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