Spoken Word: A Space For Sharing
Reported by Emma Bach
On Friday evening, the Black Student Union (BSU) hosted a spoken word event at George Fox University (GFU). With a black curtain backdrop, warm mood lighting, hot drinks, and a full crowd, Lemmons 8 was nearly unrecognizable as the lecture hall it usually is.
Ellie Watts, a third-year student and secretary for the BSU, had a notable role in planning the event along with Intercultural Resource Center (IRC) intern Kaheela Reid, a fourth-year student. There have been other spoken word events in the past; a tradition the IRC hopes to continue.
“It is for students to come and share their thoughts, ideas, emotions via spoken word,” Watts said. “It allows for students to share whatever is on their hearts.”
This year, the theme for the event was “Know the past, shape the future.” Many students shared poems they’d written — there were a few musical performances as well. The pieces touched on a number of topics; family, race, identity, politics, religion, and mental health, to name a few.
“The theme was the Black Student Union's theme for Black History Month last year,” Watts said. “We saw it fitting to continue the tradition.”
While those performing initially had to sign up beforehand, there was time left at the end for open mic. Many used this chance to express themselves and read their poetry.
The spoken word event provided students with a safe space, one where they could be vulnerable and share without limitation or hesitation. Those attending were able to relate and understand one another more effectively after hearing the range of thoughts, stories and experiences divulged throughout the evening.
The environment in Lemmons 8 was one of acceptance, love and comfort — students encouraged one another through nerves and enthusiastic applause followed every performance.