Based On A True Journey…

Hello everyone,

This is Jamael I. Clark (Founder & President) of Northern Illinois University’s Spoken Word organization and months after establishing the on-campus club, I finally came up with a name for the Spoken Word slam team and a logo. Please read the story below to find out the meaning behind it all.

Impact Makars (Slam Team Name)

Impact Makars logo (paw)-2

Based On A True Journey…

The meaning behind the name of the slam team derives from my freshman year of high school at Oak Park and River Forest. Basketball tryouts were approaching in autumn, but I only wanted to make the team for one reason; I had an enduring cupidity to make an impact on my high school as a personal goal, but I just didn’t know how I would do it.

Before attending OPRF, I failed to make the team (twice) at Percy Julian middle school. The failure of not making the team as a middle schooler transferred to high school, knowingly, concurring this as my final shot at fulfilling my objective of making an impact because basketball was my only interest at the moment. Unfortunately, I was cut from the team, but it conjured an epiphany; basketball was only something I loved to do because it was an outlet to make an impact, instead of making an impact with an outlet I loved to do, which I didn’t discover until my junior year of high school.

Over there years of flipping my weaknesses of writing poetry and public speaking into strengths, I finally attended my first Spoken Word showcase on Valentine’s Day, 2008. Once the show ended, I knew exactly what I was in love with and what I can do to make an impact on my high school. So, I joined Spoken Word knowing my purpose and was cognizant of how I would define that purpose with my first Spoken Word showcase performance a few months later in May. That was the first day I felt like I made an impact at the school and decided to continue to do so until I graduated.

My only dilemma; I felt as if I didn’t have enough time to make the impact I wanted to make due to joining Spoken Word second semester of my junior year rather than much sooner. Albeit, I performed in four shows and that experience helped me initiate the Spoken Word organization at NIU. I created this club to not only offer myself the opportunity to accomplish the personal goal I had when I was a freshman in high school, but it allows team members to fulfill their legacies of sharing the same goal as me; making an impact on the world through the love of Spoken Word. (The rules, regulations, and procedures of becoming an Impact Makar are currently being constructed and a statement will be released once everything is finalized.)

Side Note: My roommate had a dream while he was in France this past December and this dream was about the NIU Spoken Word organization, which was months before I began the brainstorming process for a team name. He told me in his dream he was at a crazy showcase at some venue with a huge sell-out audience at a high level of excitement. A slam team was there and they sported their own shirts with their team name reading “Impact Makers”.

Important Terms
-Impact: To have an affect, influence. The force of ideas/concepts, to exert.Impact Makars logo (paw)-2
-Maker: God, a god. A manufacturer, creator. Archaic-a poet.
-Makar: A poet or writer. Skilled in making/crafting mastered poetry. A creative artist.
(Makar also means “blessed”)
-The paw represents the NIU Huskies and the OPRF Huskies (share same mascot)
-The 4 fingers of the paw are ink blots enclosed by circles to represent leaving a permanent mark on the mic, stage, hearts when we touch them.
-The red, black, and white hues are NIU colors.
-Another reason why the paw is shaped like a heart is because I attended my first Spoken Word showcase on Valentine’s Day.
-I was told having a big heart is a weakness, but I proved it to be a strength in helping me flip my weaknesses into strengths, which is another reason why the heart is flipped upside down too.
-The heart symbolizes the love I have for this art
and how I fell in love with it (hence how the heart is upside down so when its turned right side up it looks like a heart pouring out ink or better yet, pouring out your heart…)

Contact Info
Russ Devereaux (Spoken Word Faculty Advisor/Coach for Impact Makars):
Twitter: or just follow @NIU_SpokenWord


1 Comment

  1. Anonymous says:

    That’s deeeeeep. Looking forward to seeing a positive impact by your organization.


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