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Black Lives Matter Panel Discussion and Poetry Feat. Ladan Osman

It’s the first night of the spring semester. Are you ready to change the way you speak and listen at Sonoma State? Come join the HUB for SPOKE: a unique opportunity for collective exchange through poetry, performance, and necessary conversation about the #BlackLivesMatter movement and how to reach the people who need it most.

What is SPOKE?

A monthly space where people in the SSU community can come to listen to one another and share their talents (and the stage) with brilliant, established poets in the national poetry community. SPOKE is our chance to foster creative and artistic expression while establishing a culture of honesty, compassion, respect and change. All performers (poets, musicians, drag queens and kings, magicians, actors, comedians, jugglers, dancers, puppeteers, mimes, contortionists, acrobats, etc etc etc) welcome! Bring something to share and be ready to let SSU surprise you.

We’re starting this month’s SPOKE Open Mic with a panel discussion on one of the most urgent, necessary topics in current events today: The #BlackLivesMatter movement.

The racially-motivated police brutality that is common in the U.S.cannot continue--and it is just one terrible symptom of a much larger systemic sickness. But often, when we work to bring awareness to these issues, we end up watching other students brush aside the suffering of others as “not my problem.” We have even seen discrimination and hate crimes in our own SSU community, and we can no longer just ignore and tolerate it. Talking about the many impacts of racism cannot only involve those who live with the consequences of ignorance and avoidance.  The movement #BlackLivesMatter provides a relevant model to discuss and produce meaningful dialogue and awareness . A distinguished panel of SSU student leaders and staff in addition to local activists will give their personal perspective and possible solutions to the silencing of black voices and effective non­violent protesting. After this discussion, we’ll share creative expression with the SPOKE Open Mic, followed by a reading from Ladan Osman.

About the featured poet:
LADAN OSMAN was born in Somalia and raised in Columbus, Ohio. She earned a BA from Otterbein University and an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin’s Michener Center for Writers. In 2014 her poetry collection The Kitchen Dweller’s Testimomy won the annual Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets. Osman lives in Chicago. Her verse has been featured in a number of poetry publications, including Narrative Magazine, Artful Dodge, Vinyl Poetry, Prairie Schooner and RHINO.Her poems have also appeared in former US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser's syndicated newspaper column, "American Life in Poetry."

Please join us for an awesome start to the spring semester. We hope to see you there!