Cover Photo Credit: LTAB Facebook
How Mid-Missouri Chapter Go Started…
Coordinator and Director of Louder Than a Bomb Mid Missouri Chapter Josh Runnels moved to Missouri a little bit over a year ago. Doing some youth development work, he a job offer at the University of Missouri and made the transition from Chicago to Mid-Missouri.
“I knew that I wanted to start poetry platforms, or just creative and expressive art platforms, for the youth out here to help promote and create a new culture moving forward,” Says Runnels “I still was coaching a team that was a part of Chicago’s louder than a bomb, and I felt bad about not being fully involved in the Chicago chapter by living out here in Missouri. So what I did was got together with people who already did poetry.”
One Mic poetry collective is a collective that has a monthly series of open mics for poetry and writing workshops.
“Once we linked together we were planning on doing it for 2019, but things changed and we ended up getting schools together getting schools on board and getting it going for 2017-2018 season,” Says Runnels.
What Bigger Things We Can Expect For LTAB Mid-Missouri…
Kansas City has a Louder Than a Bomb chapter. They have been pre existing for five years now. Josh Runnels and his team have been working on organizing a statewide competition for the young poets.
“I am in connection with one of the coordinators for Kansas City, and we met some of the people who coordinate something similar to louder than a bomb in St. Louis,” Says Runnels “We spoke to those connections about coordinating something through the east coast of Missouri, the west coast of Missouri, and then we will be the Mid-Missouri aspect. So bringing them all together in the future somehow someway to have some kind of statewide poetry slam or just collaboration of open mic series and shows.”
Runnels believes there is a great chance of the statewide competition taking place next year, and if not within the next two years for sure.
The Best Part About Working With LTAB…
“My favorite part is always the inspiration that i get from seeing young adolescent youth in high school, middle school that are able to be so courageous enough to get up and start telling their story and then start finding ways to make power moves to make social justice changes or any kind of changes to the communities,” Says Runnels. “I saw it happen in Chicago with the previous group that i was working with in Louder Than a Bomb and already identifying some of the leaders here I see can potentially do the same thing on a different level or similarly.”
What We Hope the High Schooler Will Gain From This Experience….
“I am hoping that the high schoolers will learn a sense of empathy when listening to each other’s stories,” Says Runnels. “It does take active listening skills to be developed in order to truly understand what the underlying message is from those stories that are being told. Through that i am hoping to see them get rid of any biases or prejudices or prejudice like habits that they might have if any, and just learn how to start identifying each others values and cooperating and collaborating and working together to build a stronger and closer community that distributes all the needs of every person in the community.
Along with that just developing their crafts, their expressive arts, developing their voices, learning how to use their voice to speak on things that are needed, and kinda just going after things that they want, desire, or need to make that community as best as possible.”
What We Hope The Audience Will Gain From This Experience…
“The audience can either choose to be spectators, and just feel the inspiration and motivation that i get or they can start jumping in and becoming advocates or becoming helpers with making sure the resources and things that are being spoken about are distributed and creating that better community in their own way,” Says Runnels “Even if its separate from the poets or something along those lines. I really don’t want to see spectators and helpers, I want to see more advocates. I want to see more organizers, more rebels even from the audience members.”
Advice For Our Readers…
“Writing is essential for everybody because what it did for me and what i saw it do for other students, and anybody actually, it’s a filtration process of a lot of negativity that we are exposed to,” Says Runnels. “We never really get a chance to organize our thoughts unless we are writing. We organize them by filtering out the negative stuff and the positive stuff putting it on paper to present a message. Understanding what that message is, what that lesson is that we learn from our experiences and learning how to cope with those traumatic experiences that are stopping us from being successful and progressing towards the future is key. So writing is essential for everybody not just poets, not just rappers, not just singers, anyone who wants to see any kind of progress in their own life.”
Please make sure to come out and support Louder Than a Bomb Mid-Missouri. Their finals will take place at Stephens College at 11am. For more information follow them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LTABCOMO/