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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    UNITI Hosts Rosa Park’s Poetry Night

    On Feb. 4, the UNITI Cultural Center Student Organization hosted a read-in for African-American poetry in the Kelly classroom, located’ on the top floor of the Kelly Dining Hall. The event was open to the entire Stony Brook community. Everyone who attended was encouraged to’ bring and share’ a poem, short story, or another piece of literature that was written by an African-American author.

    The event, a Black History Month function, was put together to raise awareness about African-American writers who are frequently overlooked and eclipsed by their literary counterparts of other ethnicities. All who attended the Rosa Park’s Day Read-In left with a better understanding of the rich literary heritage of people of color. Even though the Read-In was held on the same day as the Super Bowl XLI, there was still a good turn-out of young men and women.

    Among the selections read were Maya Angelou’s poem ‘Still I Rise,’ a very powerful excerpt from Alice Walker’s seminal novel, The Color Purple, excerpts from Pablo Neruda, some pieces from Langston Hughes, and several other pieces from other notable people of color. Everybone who attended agreed that it was certainly an issue of quality over quantity when it came to the works that were presented. It was also’ a general consensus that’ this event and’ similar ones are important, not only during Black History Month, but all year around.

    One young man,’ Francisco Narvaez, said the Rosa Parks Day Read-In and events like it are very important because they can serve as a time of reflection on the state of minorities, both’ in the’ past and present. Another said that before the Civil War, African slaves were kept illiterate, but’ after they got the opportunity to read and write, they jumped at it and the Read-In was just a celebration of that.

    Another commented that this event was necessary to bring more attention to Rosa Parks Day, a holiday in New York State, but not recognized federally, since it is not that well known. Perhaps with more events like this one, in the future it could be made into a national holiday.

    Even though some of the people there may have missed out on pre-Super Bowl parties, they undoubtedly gained something much more important. They learned’ about their past and the untapped potential of young African-Americans and all people of color, which at the end of the day is much more valuable than beer and hot wings.

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