The event name, “I am a POEM (Product Of Environmental Motivation)” is the brainchild of Kelan Bilal, a local business owner, community leader, and Non-Profit Executive of Grooming University and The Colony Youngstown just to name a few. He created the slogan about 6 years ago as a part of the #Chillout campaign, a “stop the violence” movement aimed at reducing the violent crime that chronically plagues his beloved hometown. The movement branded the phase “#Chillout” as a device that encourages at risk persons to relax and think about the decisions that they were making in tense situations. As someone who has survived the rough environment of Youngstown, Ohio in the Late 1980’s and early 90’s Kelan attributes much of his success to positive influence and environmental stimulation afforded by opportunities to visit and connect with less afflicted people and places. His intuitive nature made him aware of the impact that the contrasting forces were having on him and that realization ultimately evolved into the slogan “I Am A POEM”.
In the late fall of 2018 a Youth Spoken Word and Poetry Festival that was being developed by The Colony Youngstown (of which Kelan is the President) had great promise but lacked a name that seemed to possess the quality of its vision. During an event committee meeting where possible names were being tossed around, Kelan pointed to a shirt that he was wearing that read “I Am A POEM” Product Of Environmental Motivation and it instantly clicked for everyone in the room, The event had found it’s Calling, literally.