A behind the scenes look at the program.

Climate Speaks 2019 ran from March to June and had three stages, outlined below.


Stage One: Workshops

Students registered for free workshops to explore connections between climate change, social justice, and the arts, taught by experts in climate issues and expert poets and performers. They also met other high schoolers who want to make a difference, and received more information on how to participate in the Climate Speaks writing and performance competition. Workshops were available in every borough.

After attending a Climate Speaks workshop, students were invited to submit an original poem or rap, either as an individual or as a part of a duo. Students submitted their work through an online portal; submissions were due Sunday April 14, 2019.

Stage Two: Coaching

Students chosen to continue in the program received multiple opportunities for in-depth performance coaching and mentoring by expert poets and performers. They participated in a live rehearsal followed by additional coaching, prior to auditioning before a panel of judges on May 13 and May 15, 2019. Finalists received intensive additional performance coaching and participated in a formal dress rehearsal.



Stage Three: Performance

On Friday June 14, 2019, finalists performed at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, raising awareness about the climate crisis and inspiring the audience to spread the word and take action. Climate Speaks workshop participants who were not selected as finalists received free tickets to the performance so they could celebrate their peers. Finalists were provided tickets to distribute to family and community members. All participants continue to receive ongoing educational, performance, and leadership opportunities.