December 2019

Dear Community,

Thank you for all your support!

After 10 years of dedication to youth centered arts and social justice work, Spoken Futures is ending our organization this winter 2019 and will be moving out of La Pilita Cultural Center.

We estimate over 10,000 young people participated in our programs over the years. From the Tucson Youth Poetry Slam, Liberation Lyrics after school program, Nuestra Voz after school program, Queer Youth Arts Showcase, Spoken Futures Press and countless student performances in community events across the Southwest. Youth from all over Arizona built a community together to survive, learn, educate, resist, empower and dare to speak their stories into a microphone.

The work transformed us. In the last decade of organizing, facilitating and fighting – we’ve learned the value of showing up for young voices, the arts, and justice in our communities. Some deeply learned lessons along the way include:

  • Youth in Tucson need more youth run youth spaces!
  • Youth can, did, and will continue to hold it the fuck down
  • We can be family, we can fuck up, and we can still be family
  • Art as resistance is necessary
  • Gentrification is exhausting (and violent)
  • No matter how enjoyable and important the work is; it is still work that takes mental, emotional, and financial resources
  • Femmes of color do a lot of unseen labor
  • Toxic masculinity creates barriers to meaningful forward movement
  • Tucson needs better mental health resources
  • We had to embrace change, flexibility, and leaning into impermanence
  • You gotta laugh!
  • People need to believe they should pay artists for their work
  • Beautiful things happen when we come together
  • We don’t need a whole ass organization to stay connected
  • Adults need to do better

The work never ends! So many youth, including the youth and adult organizers involved in Spoken Futures continue to do work around creative expression and social justice today. The work continues even as the cycle of our organization comes to an end. Spoken Futures would have never been possible without the love and support of the Tucson community and the youth, especially young people from all our programs in South Tucson.

With deepest gratitude, thank you. 

Thank you to everyone in general TO Folx who have held it down for us TO people who held space for us (& shared it) TO Everyone who has shared a story (on or off the mic) TO Youth (and their supporters) TO TYPS first timers (and their support) TO Bentley’s & co. (incubator) TO Folx who felt safe enough in our space to share queer art and poetry TO Educators (sometimes teachers); librarians, features TO Those who showed up, disappeared, and returned (those who didn’t return as well) TO Everyone who thanked a poet TO all the kids (shy, pensive, loud, unapologetic, brave) TO Folx who dug deep (spoke on racism, transphobia, police violence and more) TO Those who were down to try new endeavors with us (QYAS) (those who allowed us to develop/process) TO Anyone who rolled through the sacred space that is La Pilita.

Con mucho carinx,

Spoken Futures Staff

Spoken Futures

Spoken Futures, Inc. widens access to the literary arts and community engagement for young people across Southern Arizona. Through dynamic competitions such as the Tucson Youth Poetry Slam, innovative social justice programs such as Liberation Lyrics, and La Pilita Cultural Center, Spoken Futures creates youth-centered spaces. Through dedication, reverence and love we use poetry as a tool to dream tomorrow, honor yesterday and live today.