It was an especially rainy and chilly day last Saturday, making it the perfect occasion for an afternoon spent inside with a cup of coffee. As part of our celebration of International Women’s Month, our Women, Girls, and Global Justice team hosted a poetry-style open mic night at Grit Coffee. With the Iris Magazine, Every Body Has a Story, photo gallery outlining the room, students confronted issues facing women through poetry.
Students approached the mic, introduced themselves and the poem, scrolling through their phone as they looked for the text. Those who were in attendance shared poems covering a broad range of topics. There were poems touching on body image and the value placed on women’s appearance. Some shared poems about women learning to be small – whether physically or vocally. There were poems of personal experience with humanitarian aide and even the fight against one’s inner demons. Some of the poems were spoken word and some were humorous. Many of the poems spoke to motherhood, whether by direct commentary or by the voice of the poem: daughters reflecting on their mothers and the lessons they learned from them.
Our WGGJ interns created a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere that day, making it easy for everyone to stand up and share poems, regardless of how nervous they may have felt. One student even expressed her own admiration for everyone in attendance and their willingness to share poems before she herself began reading.
WGGJ intern, Rebekah Kim, commented that, “I think the event was very successful in terms of attendance and the breadth and depth of the poems the students shared. The broad range of topics exemplified how International Women’s Month is not just about celebrating the past accomplishments of women and girls but also about awareness about the future of feminism and standing for what we believe in when it comes to gender equality and social justice.”