For the last four years at Fairfield University it has been an honor to host Writing Our Lives events at Fairfield University and to showcase the power of writing with elementary, middle, and high school youth in a wide variety of genres (and conferences). With the work, I've had the privilege of sharing the stage with spoken word poet, Attallah Sheppard (DIVA!), as we mentor the power of words with K-12 youth.
Since arriving to Connecticut, I have looked for similar events that unify Fairfield's campus community and wondered why the world I know beyond my day job has not been integrated more with the undergraduate community on campus.
Last night in Barone, I witnessed an amazing fusion of what is possible through networking, sharing resources, and supporting new voices at the University. It was standing room only at the Sister Circle Open Mic event in celebration of culture, diversity, human voices, and the possibility of coming together. Attallah Sheppard, Alexis Ward, and the young women in Sister Circle have a tremendous reason to wake up this morning as proud as they can be. They pulled off an event to be replicated. It was magical, intellectual, spiritual and influential; their team brought together educators, poets, students, and writers to share what the hearts have to say - a tremendous display, indeed.
As I stated up front,
D estiny’s a fickle sprite who brings her
i ntellectual might to the music of muses and
v erses. The poet picks up the pen, rehearses,
a sks for forgiveness, then disperses
i magery before it reverses into the mundane.
n ow, this is how to keep a writer sane, to
f ind a way to pen what he’s trying to explain, to
i ntersect purpose with love and interrupt disdain, & to
n estle new meaning within limits of the human brain.
i am me because of who we are together…&
t he moral of the story is not whether or not we matter, because
y ou/me/them/us become better simply through
The other performers were absolutely astounding, too, but I want to shout out to Charlotte Pecquex, a Fairfield University graduate who is now student teaching at Central High School in Bridgeport. As a poet, she is finding a way to merge her love of words with a passion for teaching During the evening Charlotte shared a poem she wrote for a young man she's mentoring (and inspiring). After she finished, a young woman raised her hand and said, "I don't mean to interrupt the show, but I need to say something." The young woman in the audience stood up and applauded Charlotte for her poem. She said, "Too often we forget about the importance of teachers and the influence they have on their students. I came from a school like the one she described in her poem. I needed inspiration an dedication from my teachers. I know love knows no color and we are in the struggle together."
F lowing, growing, and knowing such celestial chatter while
r eflecting, contemplating, & remembering to foster
o rder within the human disaster…There, but for the
g race of God go we. This, my friends, is infinity.
It was amazing to see faces of students I have in class presently, those from classes before, and others I've met when they've come to my office to introduce themselves, all gathering around with a passion for communication and a feeling for what language can do.
Here's hoping that more events like this become part of the fabric and soul of Fairfield's campus life. This is the work that matters.