This week's cover story, "Slamming for Syria," details how eighteen-year-old Syrian-American slam poet Amal Kassir is using her celebrated skills to raise awareness about the crisis in Syria. Amal, a member of the Minor Disturbance slam team that last year took top honors at the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival, has captured attention nationwide for her rousing poetry and performance style. "She's like a daisy packing a shotgun," says her mentor, Ken Arkind. What do Amal's performances look like? See for yourself in the videos below.
In 2012, Amal performed "This is for the Ladies" at an Overland High School poetry slam in Aurora. She won first place, which put her on the short list to make the 2012 Minor Disturbance slam team.
As part of the Minor Disturbance team, Amal competed at the 2012 Brave New Voices festival in the Bay Area that July. For the last poem of the night at the Grand Slam Finals, she and teammate Ashlynn Damers performed "Syria," a poem they'd written together. The performance earned them a perfect thirty points, helping Minor Disturbance win their first Brave New Voices Grand Slam.
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The YouTube video of the "Syria" performance spread far and wide, and soon numerous organizations were reaching out to Amal. She began performing all around the country, including at this Syria rally in Washington, D.C.