Arts Advocacy

Creative Genius: Evita Colon Presents Speak to my Soul

 I am here to speak to your soul.

I am here to empower.

I am here to uplift.

I’m here to educate.

I’m here to be unapologetically Afro-Latina and transparently me.

I say the things people are scared to say.

I say them in a way everyone understands.

I am walking in my purpose.

I am here to speak to your soul.

Speak to my Soul, is a creative advocacy organization that was founded by 25-year-old Evita Colon. The purpose of the organization is to host events, create productions and incorporate programs in the community that use the performing arts to empower, educate and elevate a diverse range of people in society. Speak to my Soul raises awareness of pressing issues in the community such as poverty, injustice, unemployment, education or lack thereof, etc. People of all ages and backgrounds have been inspired by programs which speak to their soul through empowering messages, presentations, acting and spoken word.

Evita’s no-nonsense approach to advocacy has taken Speak to my Soul from a single performance on the campus of her alma mater Shippensburg University to a full-blown organization with a significant platform that demands a seat at the table for those who are most often dismissed or silenced.

The organization’s most recent video production inspired by Solange Knowles “Cranes in the Sky.” Evita employs her creative genius by using artistic expression to make challenging topics palatable for even the most resistant observer.

The spoken word poet who lifts and she climbs is on the fast track to carving out a significant space for advocacy-oriented creative work. In addition to college environments, her work has also been used as a creative education tool at the middle and high school level; and is creating a strong following on the open mic scene.

Like many creatives, much of Evita’s work is born from a place pain.

I am motivated by pain. Pain is such a striking emotion that we do not forget. Even when we give birth, that is a feeling our minds remember clearly. We love our kids, and we remember ever so clearly the pain we went through to birth them. A lot of my best work was created during a time of pain. I’ve written many pieces in pain. I wrote through tears. Even some of my happier pieces were written in a time of pain because it helped me escape.

Nevertheless, her desire is to build a legacy for her son. Speak to my Soul began shortly after Evita gave birth to her now 3-year-old son Dominic. During her years at Shippensburg University, Evita was very involved in student organizations; and she was a known poet on campus. So in her senior year, just two months after giving birth to her son – it may have surprised some the Evita desired to do more. Using what she learned in theater class, she recruited like-minded peers, wrote a script and began to pull the production together. The idea was to offer a platform depicting the myriad of experiences of black college students. In between homework and caring for her newborn son her first production became a reality.

February 28, 2014, Speak to my Soul was born.

There are a lot of ways one can leave a legacy for their child. Why specifically Speak to my Soul? Through Speak to My Soul, I’ve educated, and I’ve learned. I took something that I was good at and used it as a tool for empowerment and education. My son has been at my side through every step in my journey watching and absorbing everything. He is learning his history, the plight of a Black American, how to receive and understand people that are different than him and how to chase what he’s passionate about. I believe that is the best thing to pass down to him. When I’m gone, I know he will make Speak to My Soul his and I will be extremely proud of the unique way he chooses to leave his imprint on the world.

After graduating, Evita returned to her hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania where she continued to expand the reach and vision of Speak to My Soul. Under the guise of Speak to my Soul, she hosted a youth summit for the city school district, created a number of video productions, and established credibility within her local community.

As Evita worked to establish Speak to my Soul she was afforded an opportunity to return to where she began by bringing her stage play to a larger venue with a wider audience base when she was booked by the Ware Center. After booking with The Ware Center, a premier performing arts center, Evita, and her team jumped into action. But as the January 24 date approached so did a terrible winter storm. The performance was rescheduled two years to the day of Speak to my Soul’s debut performance.

February 28, 2016, Speak to my Soul expanded its reach.

According to Evita, every project starts with a vision. Whether a dream or a zone out moment reminiscent of the television show That’s So Raven, all of Evita’s work grows out of a vision.

“I carry a drawing sketchbook instead of a notebook. Throughout the sketchbook, I scribble down my ideas with pictures if needed. If I want to act on any idea, I start to organize my thoughts into something that can be explained to others.” From there Evita organizes a plan with her team, mostly composed of gifted family and friends, and they begin to fill in the pieces needed to bring the vision to life.

My work is a different medium to spread awareness and empowerment to the masses. We are currently in a battle. Some call it spiritual warfare with which I agree. I believe we all need to use what we are best at to push through. Everyone isn’t built to fight in the forefront. Marching isn’t for everyone either. I respect that. However, I want to bring all of those people that want a better world under one roof to create a dialogue about what’s going on so we can push toward creating solutions. This is why I produce the shows I do; to impact society locally and internationally in the future.

February 28, 2017, uplift and affirmation.

So as you cheer from the sidelines in support of Evita and her work with Speak to my Soul; make a commitment to send shout outs to heaven, the universe or whatever your positive pleasure for the expansion of this gifted young woman’s territory.

For more information, please visit: http://www.speak2mysoul.com/

 

**Folding Chair is a rapidly expanding site that provides a platform for narrative advocacy. It was created by Kesha Morant Williams.
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