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CLEVELAND (WJW) — Amid the pandemic and now ongoing protests nationwide against police brutality, the Cuyahoga County poet laureate Honey Bell-Bey is working to inspire and uplift in Cleveland. 

Standing next to her favorite mural on E. 105th and Adams Avenue under the eye of Dr. Maya Angelou and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. painted on the wall, she recited a portion of her poem, “Covid, Crisis, Chaos.”

“I still call out his name George Floyd and he calls out Philando Castile,” her voice echoed to an audience of neighbors.

Bell-Bey recently earned a fellowship from the The Academy of American Poets. She says she plans to start a project called P.O.E.T. Power Over Emotional Trauma. 

She says the goal is to help women and families heal through the power of poetry. The mission is to give a voice to their pain and work to prevent repeat trauma.

“The support of the fellowship will help me get other young people published for one so it’s one of the major things I want them to do,” she said. “It’s how you take the power of your words and heal over your own trauma.”

Bell-Bey says she wants to empower others to tell their own stories. 

Throughout the pandemic she has continued to volunteer by hosting free poetry and art classes on Zoom for students who may no longer be offered a creative outlet due to remote learning brought on by COVID-19 precautions.