Published on March 19th, 2018 | by Burlington Partnership0
Youth group brings internationally renowned speaker to BHS!
On April 16th, Burlington Partnership for a Healthy Community and the Above the Influence youth prevention group sponsored a performance by psychologist, poet, and actor Dr. Michael (Mykee) Fowlin. Mykee delivered a thought-provoking and deeply moving one-man show, You Don’t Know Me Until You Know Me, at an all-school assembly. During the performance, Mykee portrayed a series of characters. Each of the characters was infused with aspects of his personal identity and experiences, as well as identities that varied from his own. Mykee’s characters provided students with a window into the feelings and experiences of people who may differ from themselves and a mirror to reflect feelings and experiences from their own lives. His characters confronted issues of personal identity, race, discrimination, suicide, gender equality, homophobia, and ableism. Mykee’s characters and his foundational message of the importance of embracing your true self and celebrating differences as an inclusive process clearly resonated with the Burlington High School student body. Snaps of approval and laughter could be heard throughout the performance. Several students were moved to tears. At the end of the show, Mykee received a standing ovation. Above the Influence member and Burlington High School senior Balkisa Abdikadir was deeply impacted by the performance. After the performance, she turned to a group of friends and animatedly repeated, “I’m shook; I’m totally shook.” She approached Mykee after the show to thank him and share how profoundly his performance had resonated with her experiences. “You really saw us,” Abdikadir said, “We are one of those schools that has so much diversity, but we are not taking the time to really appreciate one another. We self-segregate. I want to see us come together and I so hope your performance will encourage us to make a change.” BPHC’s Development and Youth Programming Coordinator, Tara Rueckert, also hopes that Mykee’s performance will inspire action. “We know that when young people are in environments that encourage self-acceptance and provide support, they are much more likely to make healthy decisions about substance use,” stated Rueckert.