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MLK Day: Words of Freedom

MLK day event on EvCC's campus featuring the powerful poetry of Boston’s Poet Laureate Porsha O

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MLK Day: Words of Freedom

MLK Day T-shirts from the Jan. 22 event hosted by EvCC, featuring a spoken word performance by poetry slam champion, Porsha O.

MLK Day T-shirts from the Jan. 22 event hosted by EvCC, featuring a spoken word performance by poetry slam champion, Porsha O.

Katina Brown

MLK Day T-shirts from the Jan. 22 event hosted by EvCC, featuring a spoken word performance by poetry slam champion, Porsha O.

Katina Brown

Katina Brown

MLK Day T-shirts from the Jan. 22 event hosted by EvCC, featuring a spoken word performance by poetry slam champion, Porsha O.

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Her voice resonates through the conference room and into our ears like a river finding its course through powerful lines and a compellingly strong voice.

Sarah D. Zimmerman
Porsha O., Boston poet laureate and Poetry Slam Champion graced EvCC with her insight, strength and voice for the MLK Day: Words of Freedom event.

The energetic infra-political poetry of Boston’s Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola, known as Porsha O,  was featured at the event honoring civil-rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King JR. 

The MLK day Words of Freedom and workshop occurred on Jan. 24 at the Jackson conference center. Porsha O did live readings and then led a workshop. The two events explored social justice, race, and privilege.

 

 

“Stepped into this new role and it’s really just been unfathomably awesome…I’ve just thought a lot about balancing poetry and politics.” Said Porsha O, about being appointed Boston’s poet laureate.

Stepped into this new role and it’s really just been unfathomably awesome…I’ve just thought a lot about balancing poetry and politics.”

— Porsha O

Varying between rough, debonair and funny the poetry was piercing, funny and always sincere.  One poem, called Notorious, was inspired by a person’s comment about how Porsha O reminded him of Biggie Smalls. She says in the poem how that comment limited her identity into that of a specific shape and color.

When asked about the reading EvCC student and president of the African Diaspora club, Leroy Odhiambo, said: “It was very insightful. It was a different perspective to look at the expression of the…oppressed part of society. That would be the black women, and how the system treats them or the position that they are put (in).”

During the workshop, using a fictional short story, people split up into groups to work through the narrative and assign responsibility to each character for the events that occurred in it. After coming to a consensus each group then presented the choices and reasons behind these choices.

Sarah D. Zimmerman
Porsha O. delivers a powerful poetry reading on Jan. 22 for MLK Day.

The story was then revealed to be an allegory for the societal oppression of marginalized groups including African Americans, LGBTQIA, women, and others.

“Now the workshop was something else. We got to see how the social structure is set up. How it’s reinforced. How it’s executed, and that was really what I took away from the workshop.” Said Odhiambo.

Anna Orozco, EvCC student and Diversity and Engagement Coordinator, who helped bring Porsha O to campus said, “I think students should really be aware of the meaning of MLK day and definitely be aware of all the privileges we each have. How we can use those privileges to help those in our communities and those outside of our own communities.”

 

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