Performance Artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph partnered with SBU Summer Soccer Scholars program to create Moving and Passing, an intersection of community, education, and art that enabled Bronx youth to explore themes of social justice and immigration through poetry and their passion for soccer. This project was made possible by the Guggenheim Museum Social Practice Initiative.

Joseph’s curriculum was piloted as a five-week course for high school students facilitated by poet and teaching artist Mahogany L. Browne. The curriculum—titled M-PACT—is based on themes borrowed from Joseph’s performance /peh-LO-tah/ and uses art and poetry to focus on contemporary social and political issues. /peh-LO-tah/ shows at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) from October 18th through October 21st.

The artist, students, and teaching artist share reflections on the program in this video.

Students worked either alone or together in groups to create the poems. They chose social and political issues that resonated with their own lives.  Students had the opportunity to use soccer as a metaphor for real world issues and social justice. They skillfully related positions on the soccer field to represent roles in life, like “positions of power and oppression and positions of rebellions and revolution,” says Ms. Browne.

Anyone interested in learning how to bring these ideas and concepts into the lives of more kids should read about the curriculum in the teacher guide for /peh-LO-tah/. It is intended to help students respond to and form their own opinions about the important themes explored in the performance.

South Bronx United thanks the Mahogany L. Browne, Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Guggenheim Museum Social Practice Initiative for making this possible!

/peh-LO-tah/ creator, Marc Bamuthi Joseph
Teaching artist, Mohogany Browne

Here are a few samples of the students’ poems:

Right Back
The right back is like a train track,
It helps the team get back on the attacking map,
They also defend and come quick like the flash.

Center back
Is usually the guardian,
The warrior of the field,
like a soldier in a war ready to give it all.
The man who gives it his all and gets the fans to applaud.

Left forward
The one who runs when long passes are given,
And the one who follows all the shots.
The one who tries to score when they can and
Put the ball in the back of the net.
The hard worker like a single mother.

By: Brisa, Roberto & Johnny


People all over the world sees/know,
about the famous sport
Not everyone has a chance to achieve there
Dream. But at least everyone has them.
It’s not easy & at least everyone gets to enjoy the sport.

The new generation allows both females and males to
Play, this sport that everyone enjoy. This sport
Brings, Trust, Responsibility, and Family.
Everyone being able to count on one another. This sport seems as
A community to most people.

Everyone has a weakness, and everyone has
Strengths as well. People will try to bring you
Down, hate on you and even try to lower
Your self-esteem.
It’s your job to show them that You’re
The better person and stand up to them.

This sport is not as easy as it seems, as everyone
Continues to play they learn to trust each other as a team. Teammates being As
A new family.
Everything might seem like a really big risk
When achieving something. Some might even say that the
Field is like their home.

By: Amaris Carrillo

soccer IS life

Soccer brings multiple people from around the world together,
It unites different cultures.
90 minutes filled with pure intensity,
Involving trust, faith, and communication.
In an atmosphere full of fans chanting your name,
Louder than a pack of roaring lions.

Once you step onto the pitch all your problems fade away.
Not worrying about anything but the ball.
There will be doubters throughout your journey wanting to see you starve,
There will be rough tackles, wrong decisions, and arguments,
But don’t let any of that get in the way of what you want most.

Prove those people wrong,
Make your people proud,
Because the day you hang your boots up,
Is the day you can say, “You made it.”
With or without motivation.

This all takes place in a stadium filled with fans wearing the team colors,
Chanting and signing,
Waving banners and flags,
Flares and confetti,
All for 90 minutes.
It’s, The beautiful game.

our community
the coach controls the team
he knows what is best
he might start off with a bad line up of defense like the protection system we have in our communities
this sport brings all different kinds of races together
just like our country
who now suffers for the discrimination of social class
coach tries to control the defense and the center mids
defense being the cops in our communities
the goalie being us, who can only use our hands to defend our goal
our goal being our home for many years
trying to protect it from our enemies the upper class
how can we the lower class go against the upper class
our mayor tries to control everyone so everyone may have a benefit

the ones with the most benefit are the forwards
forwards get all the fame from scoring the goal
the landlord gets all the money from scoring the goal on the goalie
who attempts to protect their home
once that goal is scored
they lose their home
the more the rent goes up
the more goals the landlord scores
the upper class the enemies make counter attack from this goal
now having an advantage

we are the goalies
we are the main ones affected by the forwards
the enemies then come to take over our home
where is the coach to help us
you expect us to have great paying jobs
to be able to pay this high rent for this old apartment in the city
you have raised the rent so high so the upper class can move in
now im without a home
well, the rent for this old apartment is too much
it’s a rip off
the government just places more obstacles in our way,
get a good pay job you say!

Its so easy to say
All these amnemities we have in our community
Are horrible and poor
Our education is bad
Our job oppurtunities are affected by it
So you tell me how!

You explain to me how!
What is our coach doing about this problem the goalie has
This field is so big yet so small
Its funny because
There is so much space in the suburbs but out of no where just because they wanna move into the city
Because they have the power they can

Why come take our homes?
The opponents really is counter attacking onto our side of the field
The coach doesn’t give us a plan to counter attack or help us
Even the goalie and the defense don’t get along so well
That’s a problem
This is the reason so many goals are being scored by our opponents

Bye bye goalie you’re moving to another team!