Salt Lake Community College students and faculty members gathered Monday in the Academic and Administration Building at Taylorsville Redwood Campus for the Annual African American Read-In.
People from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, ages and public reading experience signed up to read works from revered authors like Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou. Some of the pieces touched on issues of racism and inequality, others focused on peace, and others were simply beautiful.
The Audre Lorde poem “Power” struck a chord with the audience, as the reader told the tale of a police officer who shot and killed a ten-year-old boy.
Another highlight of the reading was from John McCormick, Dean of the School of Humanities.
McCormick read an excerpt from “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” by Martin Luther King Jr. This particular speech was first given in April 1967 and is considered one of King’s best.
In his speech, King speaks of three evils which are arguably still relevant today: poverty, racism and militarism.
The last to read were SLCC English professors Brandon Alva and award-winning poet Lisa Bickmore. Alva shared Maya Angelou’s inaugural poem “On the Pulse of Morning” and Lisa Bickmore recited “Pilgrimage” by Natasha Trethewey.
Later that night, a reception was held at the Community Writing Center in the courtyard of the Salt Lake City Library. The CWC provided a quiet, laid-back atmosphere for readings and refreshments.
Angelou’s “Still I Rise” was read along with other works from writers like Paul Laurence Dunbar and modern poet Roger Reeves. The reception ended with another Audre Lorde poem, “A Woman Speaks.”
All in all, the two events bookended a day of celebration for literature, poetry and diversity by SLCC students and faculty members.