By Toree Weaver
With a campus in the heart of Philadelphia, Temple University continues to find ways to engage and tell the stories of those around us. Temple’s School of Theatre, Film and Media Arts and the Drug Enforcement Administration have recognized the growing opioid problem in the city and have used art to bring attention and combat the issue.
Dr. Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon’s Poetry as Performance class partnered with five local middle and elementary schools to create narratives from the perspective of teens. Williams-Witherspoon’s class serves as a safe space for their voices and concerns to be heard. The pieces of work not only serve to raise awareness but allow the young members of the community to heal and understand the issues they are facing.
“The bottom line is people are dying in Philadelphia and more and more it is young people who are dying,” Williams-Witherspoon said. “If Temple and my class and these students can play a part in helping stop or ease that growing number, then I think it’s kudos to the Philadelphia community, the University community, the center and for our department.”
As art continues to reflect reality, Temple University hopes this collaboration will excite other programs to look within their own surroundings and provide a platform for their experiences are used to create bodies of work.
(filmed and edited by Sarah Mackus)