Brently Caballero, October 2015
"Best Outlet for Self-Expression"
-The Austin Chronicle
“Speak Piece absolutely rocked our university campus. They dazzled us with their extraordinary poetry, with their contagious passion for life, and with their inspiring dreams for an authentic community. Their souls powerfully stirred us, and we saw poetry in a fresh, bold, new way. I look forward to their return to our campus because they are truly brilliant and stunning stars—You will be amazed by their performance; they will shine brightly and will rock your world!!”
-Steven Moore, Associate Professor of English and Director of McNair Scholars, Abilene Christian University
"I came up through Austin's youth slam. As a teen, I really needed the guidance and support that the youth slam community provided. After going to Brave New Voices, I felt so grateful that I returned to the program as a mentor and coach. Austin youth slam helped me find my voice, and I'm glad they are continuing to inspire young people to find theirs, too."
-Ariana Brown, Poet and Educator (http://www.arianabrown.com/)
“Speak Piece, to put it simply, changed my life. To be given the opportunity to write, meet others who cared about poetry, and to perform on a stage. To be told over and over again that my words and my voice mattered. To build a community based out of expressing ourselves and loving each other, was nothing short of a gift. At a time when I felt like everything was changing and I didn't know who I was, being a part of Speak Piece helped me start becoming the person I wanted to be.”
Arati Warrier, Poet and English Teacher @ Lanier High School
““I discovered Speak Piece my freshman year of college at UT when I wandered into a slam during the International Poetry Festival. Before I discovered Speak Piece, I wrote poetry but had no clue about the art form and community that was slam poetry. During my college days I not only found the courage to compete and perform my poetry publicly through TheySpeak but I discovered a community with not only the love and support that I needed at the time but shared experiences. I also competed in Brave New Voices with TheySpeak in 2015. TheySpeak provided me with oversight and helped me improve my writing. I think in today's political climate and social atmosphere we have to have safe spaces for our children and teens where they can not only positively communicate their feelings but they can do so while cultivating both their oral and written skills.”
Imani Boyette, Poet and WNBA basketball player
"Speak Piece not only helped to mentor our students, but the poets helped to stir the desire and willingness in students to write and share their writings with one another. CTMS students were excited and eager to share on Open Mic night and received incredible feedback from Edwin for future writing. Amazing experience! Can't wait to have them back to Round Rock!"
-Carrie Visger, ELA teacher, 7th grade
“Edwin kept our students engaged and held them responsible for speaking their piece. Our students wrote funny and inspiring poetry in a matter of minutes! I wish he could be here every week. I can't wait for Speak Piece to visit our campus again.
-Krista Tyler, Instructional Technology Specialist, McNeil High School