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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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“Putting Inequity to Rest” poetry slam honors Dia de los Muertos

Lauren Michelle McGee
Miguel Cruz shares his poetry during the “Putting Inequity to Rest” poetry slam on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, at City College in Santa Barbara Calif. Cruz organized the event in honor of Dia De Los Muertos and to give students a platform to have their voices heard.

City College students and faculty alike gathered in a crowded BC Forum for the third annual poetry slam in honor of Dia de Los Muertos Tuesday evening.

The “Putting Inequity to Rest” poetry slam was Miguel Cruz’s idea, a City College student on the student equity committee. He wants students to know that their voices are heard.

“We are a medicine for each other,” Cruz continued.

Outside of BC Forum, guest were welcomed with traditional Mexican food before going inside to enjoy the poems.

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Lauren Michelle McGee
From left, Tenoch Mendez, Agustin Pimentel, David Mendez, and Alejandro Mendez open the “Putting Inequity to Rest” poetry slam with their traditional music on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, at City College in Santa Barbara Calif. They are part of the music group Tribu, coming from Mexico City.

Inside, the traditional band from ancient Mexico City, called Tribu, played their instruments until everyone was seated and ready for the poems which started at 6 p.m.

More people wandered into the poetry slam as it went on, and by the end there was about 175 people in the audience. This was a significant jump from the approximately 40 people who attended last year.

Luis Giraldo, the director of equity, started the event by explaining that the poetry was in celebration with the day of the dead, or Dia de los Muertos. City College students and faculty set up altars all around campus for students to honor the deaths of their loved ones.

“It’s not an artistic expression, or it’s not a art piece per se,” Giraldo said about the altars on campus. “People have responded with: watch the movie Coco, and you will know [about the meaning of the day of the dead]. And that is insulting in many ways, because the truth is a lot deeper than that, because people’s lives are represented in these alters.”

The event was open microphone for everyone to go up on stage to express their feelings and read their own written poems, or existing poems that spoke to them. There were approximately 14 students and faculty who recited their poetry.

“Poetry has been a way for me to make bridges between different communities,” said Keith Mar, one of the poetry readers. “Because we do not all live in the same world, we don’t walk in the same world.

“It’s been a way for me to create a social connection in a time that I frankly believe our country is in need of it, and it’s been a way for me to celebrate my roots.”

Powerful poems were read for the crowd to enjoy.

“I ask where you belong. Read these books for yourselves, these books were banned in Arizona, these books are still banned in this country because they don’t want you to know the truth about yourself and where you come from,” said Irene Sanchez, a highschool teacher, performing her emotional poem.

To end the event, Annette Cordero, an English professor herself at City College, spoke her thank you to all people who attended.

“This is my native land, my ancestral that we are all currently occupying,” Cordero said. “So it does my heart good and I think the hearts of our ancestors good to have this kind of passion and this kind of strength, and this kind of community take place here tonight.”

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