Freedom is … having your voice heard

New writers young and old got together to write and perform poetry with a difference at Hull’s Freedom Festival earlier this month.

Residents from the Henry Vernone Court supported housing complex and young people from Goodwin Community College performed in the Speak Out Tent at Freedom Festival 2016, after taking part in  Word On The Street poetry workshops.

And one of the people who helped them get from that empty page to the Freedom stage, Hull performance poet Joe Hakim, invited us to share one of the group’s most unique collaborative poems.

Joe said: “English was the second language of a lot of the younger participants, so I got them to work on a couple of lines each, prompted by simple writing exercises based around the concept of Freedom. The poem is called Freedom Is … I hope you enjoy it.”

Freedom Is…

Words by: Rob Madsen, Abi Smith, Jade Hales, Cara Hales, Hodari, Lul Abdi, Amanda Matongo, Garth Goldfinch, Rinas Mahko, Kirstie McNicholas, Esther Rahema, Connor Marshall

Freedom is a weapon, and wielding that

weapon gives you the chance and the choice,

to reach out to others, to express the voice

that is in all of our minds, realising that

all of us together are one of a kind.


Freedom is having the space to create in,

your own place to feel safe in,

the freedom to exist is the right to

flourish and resist, to overcome the reality

of seeing everyone around me struggling under austerity.


Freedom of speech means having the power

to fill our relationships with positivity,

establishing our solidarity against all

those fools that would try to crush you,

that have no clue what the world looks like to me and you.


Freedom is having nothing, but helping

others anyway, days spent with

each other, listening to music and escaping,

relaxing instead of hating, as we

exchange our ideas, our cultures relating.


I don’t want to believe that freedom is an illusion,

because every time we open our mouths to speak

it’s a revolution: challenging injustice and elitism

in our everyday lives; slipping, hoping, jumping

as time zooms by, understanding there is no divide.


The chains are broken and the clouds have gone,

as I see the shore my freedom lies along.


  • Be part of the story: If you have a story, image, sound or video clip you’d like to be considered for publication on, please email, including your name and contact details in case we need more info. Please note that we can not guarantee publication. Find out more about getting in touch with us here.