Slam Poetry Contest Donates to Syrian Refugees

Seniors from Fordson High School’s Arab Student Union (ASU), Book Club, and National Honor Society collaborated to organize a Slam Poetry competition on February 26 for their senior project. In addition to spurring activity for club members to get involved in, ASU president, Zeinab Alsaady, along with Rashid Baydoun, the club’s advisor, decided to create an event that would be entertaining and charitable. The tickets to attend the contest cost an affordable $3. $700 were raised from ticket sales and donations proceeding to the SARN, Syrian American Rescue Network. Representatives from SARN expressed their gratitude towards the event organizer’s efforts.

Flyers were shared and retweeted throughout social media seeking high school performers and inviting students to attend the show. Around 200 students and their families were present at the event from many different high schools. Abdullah Hammoud, a Fordson graduate and a Democrat State Representative candidate, was the host and even started off the night with a poem of his own. Arabesque was the event’s overall theme to express the cultural significance of the city and its people. “There were several reasons as to why we decided to plan this event. A few main ones would be to raise awareness about the conflicts in the Middle East, about our different cultures in Dearborn, to show how it is being a Muslim, in general, in today’s society, as well as helping out Syrian refugees who are fleeing a war many of us can relate to,” Alsaady responded when asked about the contest’s goals.

There were three judges who judged the performers and chose three to win out of the 11. Wafa Berry, a Fordson senior, won first place for her motivational slam poem. Edsel Ford High school junior, Miriam Hamad, won second place for her emotional performance of her poem, “Haneen.”

Third place was Malak Elhady, a Fordson sophomore who performed a heartfelt poem about her country, Yemen. Each performance was amazing in its own way. Every one of them spoke out about their religion, culture, or country, for different reasons and with different messages.

Being the only contestant outside of Fordson High School, Miriam Hamad was a little hesitant of performing, but eventually decided to try something new. Her poem was about a girl named Haneen who lived in Palestine and suffered daily from the ongoing war. Hamad loved the sense of unity she felt on that stage with the crowd, performers, and Arabs overseas, stating, “Everyone on that stage was able to be a voice for those suffering back home, whether it’s Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Yemen, or Iraq, and cannot really tell their own stories.”

The Slam Poetry contest was ornamented with various cultural backgrounds all portraying Arab life. Each poem held its own story, but together spoke of a united and just Arab identity. The monetary contribution made to Syrian refugees reflects the ideology and generosity of the young Arab community in Dearborn.