Spoken word for unspoken violence

Spoken word for unspoken violence

I’m Vanessa Agovida, a sophomore at Fordham University. As a bookworm, occasional writer, and actor, I believe in the power of stories to spread awareness and inspire change. Last fall, I became a founding member of Fordham’s first spoken word poetry club, which was started by my friend Sarah Davis. Unlike traditional forms of poetry, spoken word is meant to be seen and heard. There is something uniquely terrifying about presenting original poetry, sometimes due to its intimate subject matter. After our first show, though, a classmate whom I barely knew told me how much my poem resonated with him. Since then, I’ve never doubted the power of spoken word to bring together seemingly disparate people.

This past April, Fordham held their annual local round of Campus MovieFest, a national competition for college students to create a five-minute short film in one week. Naturally, when my friend Shannon asked me to write a poem about domestic abuse for her film entry, I quickly agreed. Collaborating with Sarah, I set out to show how abuse can be quite subtle, having been inspired by another friend’s experience. The story follows Lucy, a young woman who performs a spoken word poem as a way to regain her voice and agency after ending an unhealthy relationship.

The finished product, Mine, won Best Actress and got nominated for Best Drama out of over 100 entries at Fordham. My production team and I were surprised and moved by the response we received from our peers, so we posted the film to Tumblr and Facebook. Since then, it has been promoted by the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Abuse, the Center for the Pacific Asian Family, and End Violence Against Women International. It has been unreal to see how our film has been received by allies and victims of domestic violence from across the US and even in Australia.

Now our team has a chance to bring the film to Hollywood this June by winning the Campus MovieFest Wildcard round, but we need the most views out of all the Fordham teams by this Sunday, May 11. We currently hold a narrow lead over the first place team. Hopefully with the support of We Talk Women, we can bring this important story to a wider audience!