A MAN whose brother was murdered by a terrorist organisation has launched a poetry competition and is hoping to get as many young people from across the county to take part and help ‘defeat those who seek to divide us.’
Mike Haines’ campaign Global Acts of Unity has started the competition which challenges 11 to 18-year-olds to write a poem about what they think unity means to them, how they would bring young people together and to give examples of unity in their school or community.
GAU is providing Instagram poets, spoken word artists or closet rappers with a platform to showcase their work and they have a chance to win £100 of vouchers and £500 of supplies for their school.
Mike said: “I’ve been inspired by many young people on my journey but I want to hear from many more.
“That’s why we have created Words of Unity to invite young people, as the leaders of tomorrow, to add their powerful and unique voices to this call for unity, acceptance and understanding.”
Mike’s brother David Haines, a humanitarian aid worker, was captured by Daesh for 18 months before he was publicly murdered in September 2014.
The footage of his execution was shared to enforce fear and division among people but in response Mike created GAU to honour his brother and defy the terrorists’ message.
Since the tragic event Mike has spoken to over 90,000 people, including hundreds of schoolchildren, about the power of unity and the importance of standing with people of all faiths and backgrounds.
Mike said there was always a very powerful reaction from young people when he told his family’s story.
“In one particular school recently a young student approached me after my presentation.
“She had written me a poem – and it was a moving message of hope and unity.
“That poem inspired me to create this Words of Unity poetry competition.”
Instagram has become a platform for young poets and spoken word artists to showcase their work and GAU hopes to celebrate a contemporary buzz and imagination through this competition.
Poems should be no more than 400 words and spoke word or rap pieces no longer than two minutes.
Entrants should include their name, age, school address and email address in their applications.
Enties should be submitted to WordsofUnity@fourcommunications.com or to Words of unity, Four Communications, 20 St Thomas Street London SE1, 9BF.
The deadline for entries – which can also be sent online at mikehaines.globalactsofunity.com/poetry-compeition/ – is February 28.