Mykee Fowlin talks empathy, inclusion, and action

Thought-provoking Zoom presentation kicks off annual SPEAK Week at Watertown High School


Raider Times photo / Courtesy Mykee Fowlin

Performance artist Mykee Fowlin kicked off SPEAK Week 2021 at Watertown High School with a Zoom presentation.

Naomi Baker, Raider Times staff

“I love to figure out stories based on things that I see.” — Mykee Fowlin 

Every year at Watertown High School, SPEAK Week introduces students to a number of unique voices. Mykee Fowlin was one of them.

On Monday, March 15, Fowlin, a psychologist and performer, delivered a thought-provoking exploration of people’s differences and how they affect how we treat others. Fowlin did this by presenting various personas to the audience. Characters like a young Black boy struggling with ADHD and a gay teenager playing football at Rutgers helped communicate Fowlin’s larger message of inclusion to the audience.

Stories like these showcase the effects of bigotry, motivating high schoolers to fight against it in their own communities.

Each persona is deeply affected by the prejudiced views of those surrounding them. The football player’s friend’s altercation with a female classmate hurts him because despite knowing his friend was sexually harassing the girl, he remains silent. The young boy is called the N-word by a classmate, leading him to retaliate with physical violence. Stories like these showcase the effects of bigotry, motivating high schoolers to fight against it in their own communities.

Fowlin rounded out the presentation with a call to action. He asked listeners to utilize the messages they learned from his speech, to allow them to empathize with those around them, and to stand up for what is right. 

But how did this message resonate with students? Sandra Alnamous, a sophomore at Watertown High, liked the performance, saying, “It was very educational but at the same time it kept me engaged. The multiple characters he played were cool.”

Others were a little disappointed with the format the demonstration occurred in. Because of COVID-19, SPEAK Week became an entirely virtual experience, with guest speakers talking to students via Zoom. 

Sophomore Ashley Leal told the Raider Times that she thinks “that in person it might’ve been more impactful because it didn’t feel as interactive as it would’ve if we were in person.” 

(SPEAK Week is run by Wayside Youth & Family Support Network. If you are a Watertown High student interested in working with them to plan more events similar to this one as a Student Peer Leader, please reach out to Zhane Goode, the Peer Leader Advisor, at [email protected].)

–March 20, 2021–