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How to stand strong in the social war you never signed up for

  • Posted on: 8 May 2015
  • By: Irene

Greetings TEDxFlourCity family!

Look outside. It’s that time of year again. The Lilac Festival is underway, trees are blooming, and there are people on every sidewalk. True Rochester spring is here and of course, it’s almost time again for our favorite conference.

At colleges throughout the city, students are preparing for final exams and graduation. So it’s fitting that our final look back at last year’s main event highlights a group of driven R.I.T. students. Read on to re-live, and receive insights from our final TEDxFlourCity2014 speakers.

“Very often when people think of slam poetry they think of beatnik poetry, people sitting in a room with bongos, and like snapping their fingers and saying things like ‘coffee is life!’ but it’s not like that at all…” says Michelle Sason, R.I.T. student and TEDxFlourCity2014 speaker. “it’s about being able to express and having a safe space to talk about your issues…it’s less of a art form and more of a conversation.”

Sason, alongside LaKeishia Brown and Alexis Harris—both R.I.T. students as well—closed the main event with a spoken word poem in which they served as the mouthpiece for the voices of many women.  The poem heightens well known messages about the lives of women in the U.S. and brings the audience to an acute, emotional understanding of women— especially women of color— that is rarely (if ever) experienced by anyone else. 


From L to R: Michelle Sason, LaKeishia Brown and Alexis Harris on the TEDxFlourCity2014 stage

“…people turn a blind eye to the issues that we talk about in our piece, such as racism, sexism, even class issues, and I think that we are all aware of it as a society but individually… if it doesn’t effect us, directly… we won’t pay attention to it, we don’t feel the need to do something about it,” says Harris, explaining the significance of their talk. 

Although they explore heavy feelings in their poem, ultimately the goal of these women is to uplift.

“…it’s not a negative piece. It’s absolutely an empowering piece…” says Sasson. 

Brown agrees “…We’re able to like show that—yes, as women we may go through these things but we’re still standing strong—we’re still pushing through.”

To step into their shoes, watch their talk “There is a War”: 



If you loved this talk, we would be so happy if you shared it. Your share may change someone else’s day for the better—and we would love that!

Stay tuned on the blog and Facebook where you can join us as we get ready and excited for this year’s main event. 

Have a great weekend!