Each year hundreds of high schoolers from across the Chicago area compete in the Louder Than A Bomb poetry competition.
It’s a beloved event, and for the last four years, the organizers have brought the slam-poetry festival to a group of young people who would otherwise be unable to experience it: kids locked up in jail.
Last Sunday, Louder Than a Bomb came to Cook County’s Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.
About 20 kids performed their poems, raps and songs in the jail’s stark chapel. Each of them were locked up in the detention center at the time of the event on June 4.
Some of them reflected on the circumstances that lead to them being locked up, some criticized the system that incarcerated them and others took the chance to address a message to their families sitting in the audience.
WBEZ recorded the event, and presents excerpts from some of the performances that resonated with the crowd.
Editor’s Note: WBEZ AND Vocalo are media sponsors of the Louder Than a Bomb competition.