"But when one is mute, all are silent, and when one is chained, none are free. So if not you, it's up to me to make a difference."
It's a poetry slam. One of many events during Black History Month at Evanston Township High School. And it's quite popular, drawing hundreds of students during their lunch hour.
"It just gives me so much joy to know that they actually appreciate the work that we do and how hard we try to get that meaning back to Black History Month," said Tamera Boston, student.
Sophomore Tamera Boston is on the high school's slam team, along with freshman Noah McKay, who says spoken word performances have universal appeal.
"I feel like it connects to everyone. No matter what skin color you are, what gender, no matter what religion or belief, I feel like it can touch everybody," he said.
That's why Black History Month coordinator Nichole Boyd says she wanted the slam team to participate.
"The kids are so socially conscious and they have so many things to say, and this gives them a voice to express themselves and connect with their peers in a way that adults can't," Boyd said.
Slam team coach Toly Walker says students are encouraged to speak from the heart.
"They're living and becoming that history every day, and they need to know that we know it that we respect it," said Walker.