Last week, the Association of Campus Events at Kutztown held a poetry slam hosted by Ebony Stewart. Ebony was absolutely amazing as she shared powerful stories about growing up as a black woman, her father who was in and out of her life, and when she taught middle school sex education. One second the audience was laughing at her jokes and the next they were misty eyed from the stories she so bravely told through poetry.
However, what completely blew me away was the student performers. There were people of all different genders, sexualities, and races going up to share their art. The performers and audience became a community of people who just wanted to support and inspire each other.
The performers shared poems with all different themes and messages. One woman shared her experience from when she was in a mental health hospital. She made a connection with another woman who was there with her, and she seemed to have romantic feelings for her. The love she spoke of was both spectacular and painful. Another man shared his story about a professor that used racial slurs in class to justify the death of many of the black men who have been victims of police brutality. He used his poem to point out the fact that people now call black people “thugs” to replace the “n word”. The poet sat on stage in tears trying to get through the performance. The audience showed their support by snapping and shouting out words of encouragement. Many students went up to him after his performance and thanked him for sharing and inspiring them.
It was an extremely powerful night with words that lingered with me. When I got home that night I cried and cried. Hearing how people are discriminated against makes me so sick, but I am thankful that the people who shared were able to have a safe place to express themselves. I hope Kutztown continues to host events like this so we can hear the voices of those who have been unheard.