Students share stories at first Student Equity Poetry Slam

JEFFERSON BECKHAM, Channels Staff

City College students expressed their feelings in the first annual City College Student Equity Poetry Slam Friday night in the Fé Bland Forum.

About 21 people from several ethnic backgrounds joined Tyrone Howard, professor and dean for equity and inclusion at UCLA. Together they shared stories, poems and even a flamenco dance number, with an audience of around 60.

“I wanted to be able to provide a space for student to share their own story,” said Luis Giraldo, director of equity, diversity and cultural competency.

This was the third of four campus-wide events Giraldo has hosted this semester.

Several people recited poetry about a hard life in California, involving gang affiliation, corporate apathy and the American war-industry complex.

Amongst their numbers was Joey Abril, who was recently cast as Luis “Yuki” Moyano in the upcoming FX television series “Mayans MC,” a spinoff of “Sons of Anarchy.” He told a story about his former vices and gang affiliation, culminating with being stabbed on Oct. 28, 2014.

Matt Costello delivered four poems criticising Donald Trump’s politics and how they applied to the common man. His expletive-laced verses, recited with almost enough passion to incite a riot amongst the audience, expressed complete disrespect, disdain and disregard for Trump, as well as his policies, his cabinet and even the people who stand by him.

“I was very offended by his campaign,” Costello said.

Giraldo said that most speakers volunteered themselves. Costello, however, said that Giraldo invited him to speak at the event.

Costello’s poem “Pilgrim” criticised Trump’s immigration policies. He pointed out that Trump himself is only a third-generation American. His grandfather, Frederick Trump, immigrated in 1885 from what is now Germany.

Poet Natalie Patterson also spoke at the event. Since April is National Poetry Month, she decided to write a poem a day for the month of April 2017. She recited four of these at the event, including “Beautiful Body,” which celebrated unique lifestyles. Her poetry can be read online here.

The next event Giraldo plans to hold will be a “High School Equity and Leadership Conference,” set for next Friday, April 28, at the Sports Pavilion.