This is a poetry competition where a certain number of poets perform their original literary work. Poets compete for cash prizes by reading or reciting on stage in front of a live audience. The performances are scored on a numeric scale by a previously selected judging panel from the audience. Audiences are encouraged to cheer on their favorite verses by snapping their fingers. The tradition of poetry slam was founded in 1984 by Marc Smith who started an open mic night in Chicago. Word slowly grew and spread among like-minded people. Smith hosted the first slam competition in 1986. Over the years, similar events start propping in other U.S. cities. Today, the poetry slam scene has attained immense popularity with events taking place in cities around the world from small café’s and lounges to major auditoriums. For SPEAKout Poetry , the aim has always been to inspire, entertain and educate by highlighting points of overlap through purposeful and meaningful entertainment. We found this means through the art of spoken word poetry. Since hosting our first poetry slam competition in 1999, the arts especially spoken word and community have became the heart of everything SPEAKout does. Over the last few years, our team discovered that spoken word is more than just entertainment. It is a powerful artistic tool that enables poets to use their words by giving power to their voices to speak out in order to communicate ideas, values, and thoughts highlighting issues and experiences that make us who we are as individuals and society. By raising awareness of certain realities, our poetry slams inspire and engage a community to use its voice in a constructive and meaningful way. Since our slams are open to EVERYONE and are to be enjoyed with anyone from all ages in the community, all our poets must adhere to three core values: Respect. No profanity, explicit or expletive sexual content. Inclusive and culturally sensitive language is highly encouraged. Purpose. There must be a message behind a poem. Remember that spoken word is not just poetry; it is a social service, a live and independent commentary for the people, by the people. Community. SPEAKout hopes to be the bridge that helps connect people by seeking to find overlap or similarities between communities. By providing common grounds for dialogue and peace SPEAKout inspires our poets and community to advocate for people’s betterment.