Hundreds of members of the campus community will come together Thursday, April 9, to hear poets and activists Denice Frohman and Dominique Christina share their feelings on racial, sexual and gender-based violence.
The free performance by Sister Outsider Poetry, at 7:30 p.m. in Franklin & Marshall College's Mayser Center, is just one facet of Take Back the Night, an annual event intended to inspire a campus discussion about all forms of violence. Take Back the Night runs from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. and is open to the public. It will also include a public march, a speak-out and a reception at the Philadelphia Alumni Writers House, which is organizing the event in conjunction with the Alice Drum Women's Center and nearly a dozen student groups and campus offices and organizations.
"Denice and Dominique are world-renowned poets and educators," said Kerry Sherin Wright, director of the Writers House. "They come to F&M to energize us and demand an end to sexual assault and violence against women and all forms of institutionalized violence on college campuses."
Frohman and Christina are former World Poetry Slam Champions. In the last two years the award-winning duo has spread its messages of tolerance and inclusion to more than 90 colleges, conferences, schools and communities.
Mikaela Luttrell-Rowland, director of the Alice Drum Women's Center, said the organizers chose Sister Outsider to headline Take Back the Night because they skillfully engage audiences across a wide range of emerging societal issues.
"The Women's Center has made a conscious shift over the last two years to expand the focus of the Take Back the Night event to have a broader mission of taking back the night from a range of violence: gendered violence, homophobia, racism and classism," she said. "The questions we will be asking -- about what kind of community we hope to create here at F&M and beyond -- are questions that are pressing and relevant for many."
Luttrell-Rowland said the organizers are hopeful that the evening's events will spark further public dialogue about interlocking forms of violence and the importance of speaking out against it.
"We have chosen speakers and a format that center on the theme of voice: making sure the event is not about a singular narrative, but multiple narratives. Engaging the power of voice -- through spoken word poetry, public marching and personal dialogue -- will hopefully bring the community together in naming not just how vital this ongoing work is, but also how many people must become invested in order to affect change."
The event is presented by the Women's Center and the Writers House and co-sponsored by SAVE (Sexual Assault and Violence Education), LGBTA, the Office of the President, the Office of the Dean of the College, Ware College House, Brooks College House, Weis College House, New College House, Bonchek College House, and the Women's and Gender Studies Program.
Sister Outsider Poetry In Their Own Words
We speak truth.
We show up as ourselves.
We live in "otherness."
We write our "otherness."
We celebrate our "otherness."
We do not apologize for who we are.
We are resistors to anything that says we are flawed or unworthy.
We are resistors to anything that says YOU are flawed or unworthy.
We use art to heal.
We use art to respond.
We use art to challenge.
We occupy our womanness the way WE want to.
We occupy our queerness the way WE want to.
We occupy our blackness and latinaness the way WE want to.
We use poetry to say "I am."
We use music to say "I am."
We love with our hands and our hearts open.
We speak in honor of those who cannot/who could not.
We write deliberately.
We perform honestly.
And we are unafraid.