Ushering in National Poetry Month with Ms. Washington by Ashley Anumba, Co-editor-in-Chief
Photo by Brandon Pickering
Thank you to the wonderful student photographer, Brandon Pickering, and student reporter, Ashley Anumba for capturing the event of the Human Library at Chaffey Community College in such a poignant article. Thank you Principal Susan Petrocelli for making it possible for students to attend and staff advisor for the Grizzly Gazette school newspaper, Lori Villasenor.
Powerful. This seems to be the only word to describe Romaine Washington’s performance at the Chaffey College’s Human Library event that occurred last week.
The title of Washington’s presentation, Serendipity Sirens and Social Justice, coincidentally and ironically was perfect: it was Cesar Chavez Day. To start the presentation, she spoke about the moments of her life that happened by chance and read her poems on social justice.
Washington said, “I began to play with the concept of sirens and not just something as a warning but something that stops you so that you change and do something else. Then I started thinking about all the serendipitous moments in my life.” Washington continued by sharing the incidences where she met Omar Tyree, Michael Beach, and others.
With her vivid language and varied emotion, Washington was able to captivate her audience with the tellings of coincidental moments in life that propelled her into the world of poetry. From being apart of the Georgia State Slam team to walking into buildings and being offered jobs, the message was obvious: do what you love and happiness, as well as opportunities, will follow.
“All of these things happened not because I knocked on doors or put in a resume or asked around, but the door just opened,” finished Washington To finish the presentation, Washington read a few poems from her book Sirens in Her Belly and had the listeners participate in a group poem commemorating Cesar Chavez and his efforts.
The event, which highlighted social diversity and equity, was chosen to encourage people to understand one another and their varying cultures. This has been the second time the Human Library has occurred at Chaffey, but Carol Hutte, Librarian and Library Event Coordinator at Chaffey College, believes that more will be planned for the future.
Hutte said, “(Human Library) is meant to get conversations going between different cultural groups and to learn about the human experience.” The future plan for this event is to highlight different aspects of life that ultimately targets the college students, but everybody is welcome to attend, including high schoolers.
The reading and presentation was a great way for Washington to usher in National Poetry Month, which occurs in April.