By Doug Smith
Love’s aurora continued to linger in the air in the mark of the Fourth Annual African American Read-in that took place in the lobby of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Humanities Center lobby at Metro campus.
The event was hosted by Michelle Rankins, English Assistant Professor and HerBrina Shepherd, Student Life Advisor. The lobby was filled with students from various Northeast Ohio high schools ranging from Garfield Heights, Warrensville and Cleveland Heights High.
The theme of the read-in was “Peace, Hope and Love: Celebrating Black Poets.” The energy in the lobby was an immaculate spectacle, with poems being read, written by prestigious artists and poets such as: Tupac Shakur, Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, and W.E.B. Dubois, just to name a few. The prelude of panel guest speakers warmed up the audience and open mic speakers from their confidence and passion spoke the lines in behalf of the iconic black poets.
The panel consisted of Dr. Denise McCory, Dean of Academic Affairs from Eastern Campus, Rev. Paul Hobson Sadler, Sr. Pastor of Mt. Zion Congregational United Church of Christ, Rhonda L. Crowder, Author of “Riddles” and Founder of Rhonda Crowder & Associates, LLC, and more. Jacques Smith, Program Manager for the Black America Council emceed the event.
When the open mic session opened, poets read their poems that expressed the plethora of social issues African American people face in their everyday lives such as: relationship issues, growing up in urban neighborhoods, betrayal from close friends, and discrimination.
Tri-C East student, Zion Sullivan performed one of his personal poems titled “Dream Big”. Sullivan spoke in ample detail about the red flags and economic struggles that often impede youth’s abilities to dream big. A Hispanic student shared her poetic voice about the issues plaguing her community such as immigration and discrimination.
Once the open mic session concluded, the crowd reacted in a state of awe for the duration of the event. “Peace, Hope and Love: Celebrating Black Poets” was voiced by passionate individuals from generation to generation.