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Former CHA Resident Addresses Violence Through Spoken Word Rather Than Marches

Marco The Poet’s “Bless Chicago” Is A Tribute to Darrion Albert and Can Be Purchased from iTunes

One young activist is approaching crime in Chicago in a creative way – not through marches, not through rallies, not through protest, but through music and the power of the spoken word. Marco Maltbia, 30, known in the underground spoken word community as “Marco The Poet” (MTP) knows a lot about violence and crime growing up in Ida B. Wells public housing, former CHA buildings demolished about seven years ago.

After the death of Derrion Albert in September 2009, a former Fenger High School honor roll student who was fatally beaten after being caught in the middle of a turf war, he was motivated to write an inspiring rap on his recently released EP called “Bless Chicago,” and has since founded a organization called The Speak Life Movement which uses poetry to fight violence and address other social issues by setting up open-mics in community gardens, street corners, basketball courts and wherever there are youth.

The Speak Life Movement has worked with the Illinois and Wisconsin Department of Corrections in offering open mics and positive programming to inmates as an effort to rehabilitate and strengthen communities upon their release. Some of their visits have included the Illinois Youth Center in Joliet, Dwight Correctional Center and Oxford Federal Correctional Institution in Wisconsin. MTP, Speak Life Movement, his spoken word and music has impacted thousands and continues to spread inspiration throughout the city of Chicago and beyond. As an activist in the Woodlawn community and marching in countless Ceasefire responses, MTP felt the need to do something different and give youth an outlet to express themselves.

“I just feel if we are proactive and fill the community with so much positivity, negativity and violence won’t even be able to show its ugly face,” MTP says. “Bless Chicago” is a hip hop tribute to the memory of Derrion Albert and all the youth like him who have lost their lives on Chicago’s tough streets and can be purchased and downloaded from iTunes along with three other inspiring tracks.  For more information on MTP and the upcoming Speak Life Movement conference scheduled for August 27th, log on to

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