Poetry slam to serve as platform in discussing oppression

Abbey Whittington, Entertainment Editor

The Resident Hall Association has several events planned for Social Justice and Diversity week, with one being the Poetry Slam at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the 7th Street Underground of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

The RHA has planned this slam to serve as a platform for students to have their voices heard about personal experiences with oppression.

The poetry slam will begin with an introductory performance from Eastern students Heather Moore, an interpersonal communication major, and Jaccari Brown, a communication studies major, who will be reciting “Lost Voices,” by Darius Simpson and Scout Bostley.

This piece of work that Brown and Moore will be reenacting is a newer form of poetry called “Button Poetry,” which is any type of poetry put online to reach a younger audience. The poems are typically put on YouTube.

“Lost Voices” is a poem about oppression based on race and gender.

“Our performance will expose students to a side of reality they might not be familiar with and it is done all for the sake of education and understanding,” Brown said. “The performance is based on hegemonic ideologies or stereotypes and how they are portrayed and the responses given to them.”

Brown said he hopes people realize how though they might take things as harmless vernacular, they can sometimes do more damage than they might be aware of.

“All I hope that students learn from this performance is to respect diversity and understand that just because you feel comfortable about particular actions, that does not mean others are going to,” Brown said. “The essence is to understand your privileges and disadvantages and not to use those to demean or beleaguer others.”

Jacob Gulso, the RHA vice president of community engagement, said he thinks the events planned for Social Justice and Diversity week will spread the word about multiple issues including race, gender inequality, poverty and body image and the purpose is to promote change.

“I think the poetry slam will allow different students to express themselves through their own experiences,” Gulso said. “I know it can be intimidating for some people to do but once they get up there and do it, they will have an affect on others and will promote a powerful message about social justice.”

Gulso said on the RHA’s Facebook event page that for the poetry slam, students can sign up to perform in the show and there are 15 openings for anyone interested.

The poetry slam is free for anyone and refreshments will be served to the audience.


Abbey Whittington can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]