Grassroots leaders share original poetry at Horizons virtual showcase

Horizons’ virtual showcase is now available to stream on Facebook and YouTube. A special prescreening of the program for participants, grassroots leaders, staff, and board was held Thursday, June 24 via Zoom.

Horizons is a creative writing outreach program offered at family shelters, facilitated by Special Projects Organizer Claudia Cabrera. Twice-a-month sessions involve more than 100 people a year.

Emcee Edrika Fulford

The event was emceed by grassroots leader Edrika Fulford, and featured original poetry read by program participants with lived experience of homelessness and their children.

An audience of more than 30 people provided supportive comments and reactions as poems were shared by Margaret Bingham, Vicente Hernandez, Marketta Sims, Ali Simmons, Juanita Rodgers, Timothy Bell, April Harris, Lorna Bennett, Maxica Williams, and her children DeVon, DeSera, and DeNaysa.

Vicente Hernandez sharing his poem.

Grassroots leader Vicente Hernandez shared his poem Reflejo de mi Vida (Reflection of my life) in Spanish, “Nací ciego, pero veo la realidad muy clara; En mis sueños tengo un hogar; Pero cuando despierto estoy en esta realidad,” translated to, “I was born blind, but I see reality very clearly; In my dreams, I have a home; But when I wake up, I am in this reality.”

A selection of poems is published online in the Horizons 2021 Booklet.

Students from Adler University’s Art Therapy masters and Ph.D. program, guided by Dr. Jennifer LaCivita, again collaborated with Horizons to provide interpretational artwork to complement the poetry. These pieces were displayed on screen following each poem.

Director of Organizing Wayne Richard launched Horizons in 2007. A CCH organizer since 2000, Wayne first became involved with the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless when he participated in an earlier version of the writing program while living at a West Side shelter.

Contact Claudia Cabrera at with any questions about the program, or if you would like to get involved.

The full program can be viewed below: