Cleary Hosts Summer Diversity Reception With Urban Word

July 23, 2021

Cleary Gottlieb hosted its Summer Diversity Reception, “The Write Stuff,” an evening with Urban Word, champion for youth voices in the literary arts.

Managing Partner Michael Gerstenzang delivered welcome remarks and senior attorney Arminda Bepko MC’d the event.

Headquartered in New York City, Urban Word provides often-marginalized young, creative voices the tools, training, and platforms to rewrite the narratives that shape their lives and to own their agency in directing the future of their communities. It is one of the oldest and most comprehensive youth literary arts organizations in the United States, and its national community of poets, activists, and educators, has built and continues to lead the youth spoken word movement. Urban Word annually serves more than 25,000 NYC youth between the ages of 13 and 19 through its local- and school- based programming efforts, and more than 25,000 youth through its national programs, including the National Youth Poet Laureate Program, its signature model for youth poetry and civic engagement replicated in communities across the country.

Featured poets included Feyisayo Aluko, a rising sophomore at Pratt Institute and member of the 2021 Urban Word Slam Team and the Urban Word Youth Leadership Council; Jellissa Lacon, a NYC Youth Poet Laureate Ambassador and member of the 2021 Urban Word Slam Team and UW Youth Leadership Council; Elizabeth Shvarts, a 16-year-old writer, activist, entrepreneur, and member of the 2021 Urban Word Slam Team; Ayonna Sullivan, a self-made soon-to-be-mogul and a member of the 2021 Urban Word Slam Team; and Nathaniel Isiah Swanson, an artist, youth activist, and member of the Youth Leadership Council, the 2018 National Slam Team, a 2017 and 2018 Federal Hall Fellow, and a 2019 Youth Poet Laureate Ambassador.

Cleary is proud to support Urban Word as a longstanding pro bono client, whose National Youth Poet Laureate competition mentored Amanda Gorman – the youngest inaugural poet ever in the United States. Amanda was widely recognized for reciting her poem “The Hill We Climb” at President Biden’s inauguration.

Cleary is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. The firm regularly hosts important cultural events and guest speakers whose presentations afford opportunities to broaden awareness, heighten the level of discussion, and establish a culture of inclusion at the firm. To learn more about Cleary’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, click here.