Woohoo, here ’tis!
Would especially like feedback on whether or not it looks completely weird to have a couple clips from older work in there. Please lemme kno
Woohoo, here ’tis!
On the evening of April 14, 10 young spoken-word artists gathered at the True Reformer building in Washington, D.C., to compete for a chance to represent D.C. at the Brave New Voices slam poetry competition in San Francisco.
As the auditorium at the True Reformer building on U street filled, a panel of judges was selected from among audience members who had no personal connection to any of the poets. After opening remarks by organizers and a performance by last year’s winner, a young man with the stage name Pages, they got down to business.
First up was a “calibration poet” — a non-competitor. The judges’ ranking of him was thoroughly reviewed by the audience (by way of cheers or jeers) to give the judges a sort of reference point for their evening’s scoring.
Each of the 10 poets then rolled out two performances, ranging from earnest to energetic, percussive to plangent. Some sang their way into their pieces, some read off well-worn notes, or occasionally glanced at the texts saved on their cell phones. Momentary memory lapses were met with encouraging snaps.
“I didn’t expect to get this much love,” said Kosi Dunn, 15, of the surprisingly supportive atmosphere. “I expected . . . real mean competition, but all the people who are competing are my friends now,” Dunn said.
Dunn later made it into the top five, thereby winning a spot on the team that will travel to San Francisco at the end of July.
Sarah Browning, from Split This Rock poetry festival, an organization who sponsors the youth slam team said that the group is currently working to raise at least $7,000 to pay for the trip to the competitioin, but ideally twice that so that their coaches can accompany them.
A fundraising happy hour will be held Thursday, April 21, at the Sign of the Whale (1825 M Street) from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
One of the biggest stories coming out of the 2010 census is the growth of the Latino population, which has seen a 43% increase in the last decade. In Washington D.C. Latinos now make up around 9% of the total population, but their historical representation on the City Council has been less – 0%.
At a recent Latino Community forum at Carlos Rosario Charter School, candidates for the at-large seat on the city council answered questions about the issues of most concern to Latinos in D.C.
Topping the list is education, along with affordable housing and jobs.
Joshua Lopez, who, if he wins, will be the Council’s first Latino member, spoke frankly about the housing situation around Columbia Heights, where the forum took place.
“Number one, we need to enforce the laws that are on the books. There’s a bunch of slum lords in teh city, who don’t maintain their buildings,” Said Lopez, to the evening’s loudest applause. “And you can see some of them along 14th street…It’s shameful.”
Other candidates, like Bryan Weaver, whose wife is Colombian and children are bilingual, addressed issues such as proposals to allow legal residents, even if they are not U.S. citizens to vote in local elections, for example for their local ANC members.
“We’re a city of immigrant, the thing that makes the character of Washington, D.C. so important is that we have so many Ethiopians, Vietnamese, Salvadorans, Guatemalans that live within the community, and we really ahve to make people feel they’re a part of that.”
German Vigil, a voter and community organizer who attended the forum liked the idea of such a proposal. He also said that anxiety about immigration status has been one of the main obstacles to political organizing among Latinos.
Last semester I was focusing on trying to do a few stories relating to the Spanish speaking communities in D.C. One of those brought me to the Gala Theater and there I met the organizers of a bilingual youth theater program called Paso Nuevo. I attended one of their performances, chatted with a couple of performers and the directors (all really engaging) and did a little audio story (below). I didn’t post it because I had used it as an element in my semester project which just gets turned in to the professor and which I haven’t been able to revamp (yet) for publication. The text part needs work.
But I was recently reminded of Paso Nuevo, and its super-cool directors, Quique Aviles and Matthew Vaky, when two of my colleagues (Jeremy Borden and Dan Merica) in our Backpack Journalism course did a couple of packages on them.
Have a look and a listen!