Dunkirk Intermediate and Secondary schools welcomed Jillian Hanesworth, the first Poet Laureate of the City of Buffalo, Tuesday, March 14 which no doubt left a lasting impression on students.
Her first stop was to introduce the Intermediate School’s inaugural Fourth Grade Poetry Day, where she recited her own poem “The Revolution Will Rhyme,” inspired by Gil Scott-Heron’s song “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” After fourth graders presented their own original work, Hanesworth again took the stage to read the selected poem of student Maximus Thomas, who had the idea for this event.
She then addressed Dunkirk seventh and eighth graders at teacher Molly Hanzly’s Community Speaker Series, during which she discussed her educational and professional experience.
According to her website, “She began writing at the age of seven, when she would write songs for her mother to sing in church. She later took a break from writing to successfully pursue educational goals and worked to obtain a BA in criminal justice and law focusing on reform.
In January 2017, Jillian committed herself to social change through art, thus beginning her poetry career. Since then, she has performed over 200 times, and has let her passion lead her mission to empower listeners to take part in demanding and creating sustainable systemic change.
Currently, Jillian is the founder of Literary Freedom, LLC, a community activist, and organizer and the first ever Poet Laureate in the history of Buffalo; she was named after she spent two years advocating for the existence of the role. Jillian loves and lives for the community and exemplifies that in all that she does.”