100 Thousand Poets for Change-The Bark-Tallahassee, Florida 2019




100 Thousand Poets for Change speak out at The Bark

On September 28, the Tallahassee community joined together to speak out their thoughts and opinions towards politics and society. Poets, musicians and artists alike gathered at The Bark for an afternoon with the organization 100 Thousand Poets for Change. 

This humanitarian organization started in 2011, when the founders, Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion, found themselves frustrated with the lack of response with regard to the current events and political turmoil happening globally.

“In the past there were activists, but today, the artists and poets weren’t speaking out anymore because they’re more concerned with careers and fame,” said Carrion. 

Rothenberg shared his dismay for the lack of artistic activism through a Facebook post. He shared “We ought to have 100 thousand poets for change” in response to his feelings about the global political climate. From that post, the now-organization took off and has since been introduced to many counties and cities around the world.  

In the organization’s eighth year, empowered locals of Tallahassee came out to share their work with an intimate audience. From personal experiences to differing opinions, the varying speakers gave listeners a glimpse into their minds. The crowd was very open-minded and stimulated from the various rhetoric coming from the poets. Having a safe and receptive crowd for opinions on controversial topics is what 100 Thousand Poets for Change is all about.  


“What is special about this organization is that anyone can be the host,” Carrion said. The founders provide the opportunity for any community globally to host a gathering of poets and artists for change. This organization has amassed a global network of people standing for inclusivity, diversity and human rights in all kinds of political environments. This chain of people creating impactful messages around the world is inspiring.  


The relationship between art and politics is not a new concept. People use art as a communicative tool of their opinions which can be found in protest banners, street art, and even mainstream music like John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Creating a meaningful message, such as sustainability or world peace, through artistic mediums highlight individuality and generate a voice for people who want to be heard. Art is a forum where no one is right or wrong, and therefore, artists can express themselves in a symbolic or radical manner.  

The Bark became more than just a trendy restaurant once all of the poets and artists shared their work. Individuals shined a light on topics that enlightened the audience to further dwell on and maybe even created a call to action. Change might not happen overnight, but the Tallahassee community recognized unique individuals and listened to what they had to say.

Making a political statement through art, whether be writing, music or paint, the individual voice stands out in a way that others can relate and respond to. Art brings communities together, so using it as a tool to speak out about current events opens conversations and influences possible change. The organization 100 Thousand Poets for Change provides the platform for individuals to create a real impact on their community and even the world. For more information on upcoming events, visit their Facebook.


Photos by Katie Clark



Photos by Bob O’Lary


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