August 25, 2018 was a night to remember. Some people thought it was going to be a regular service day, where they attend their schools, do their service, final circle and then go to their cars and take their buses to go home like any other day. However, SLAAM had a different plan for the entire corps that night!
SLAAM stands for Society for Latino, African-American Minority Men and is an affinity group at our Milwaukee site. This group is led by two Team Leaders, Alex Williams, who serves at Harold S. Vincent High School of Agricultural Sciences and myself, Joshua Moore, who serves at Rufus King International Middle School along with our two staff points, Orlando Verdecia, who is an Impact Manager for the Brewers Community Foundation Team at Roosevelt Middle School of the Arts and Jovan Goldsmith the People and Operations Manager for City Year Milwaukee.
These four strong men of color have joined together to lead and support the men of color in the corps this year. SLAAM has a vision to work constantly and cultivate a community of transformative leaders. We want to teach young men of color to define our own success by educating, empowering, and liberating ourselves both socially and professionally so we are armed with the tools to succeed in whatever capacity we choose.
Our first event of the year was an Open Mic night for our site. This event encouraged those who wanted to perform to speak their truth, share their creativity, say what is on their heart, and give them that sense of freedom, an outlet and to be vulnerable.
Over 40 people attended our first event and an impressive 20 people performed at the event. Talents ranged from poetry, dancing and singing. The event even had an external clothing business to support the event. The company, Golden Angel is run by a City Year Milwaukee AmeriCorps member, our very own Davion Anderson. There were 8 City Year Alumni at the event along with 5 community members.
Open Mic Night was more than just a success, it was only the beginning of something truly amazing.
Article written by Joshua Moore, City Year Milwaukee Team Leader on the Rufus King International Middle School Team