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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Activities & Organizations

Poetry slam features raw stories against sexual violence


Award winning poet Desireé Dallagiacomo stayed after the slam to answer questions at a Q&A session with students. | Ajani Stewart / The Cougar.

As Desireé Dallagiacomo finished a recitation of her poem “Thighs,” which has gathered over half a million views on YouTube, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion’s audience members snapped their fingers in support and rewarded her with applause.

The Sexual Violence Prevention and Education program hosted Dallagiacomo as a guest poet and speaker in a poetry slam for both students and community members Friday at CDI.

“Some people can say that doing shows like these is activism, and I think it partially is,” Dallagiacomo said. “I think the real work comes when you give other people stages and you give other people space to share their work.”

Poets shared their messages and personal experiences through impassioned lyrics. Some were loud and brash, while others couldn’t help but tear up as they read.

“It’s always inspirational to get people to read their own poetry,” said photography and digital media sophomore Megan Gonzalez, who performed some of her poems. “It’s like they’re putting themselves like frogs on a science table and letting people poke around their insides.”

The event closed with a short Q&A session and discussion with Dallagiacomo, an award-winning poet and activist. She shared her insight into how she became a poet and how she works to provide minority voices a platform.

Participants like Gonzalez agreed that events like these help bring awareness to the issues of sexual and intimate partner violence.

“I think that it opens the window,” Gonzalez said. “It allows people to know and understand that it happens.”

Another attendant, Laura McGuire, is actively involved as program manager for SVPE. Through this position, she hosts training sessions, workshops and outreach programs for the initiative in order to use art as a force for change.

“Art is a great vehicle for activism,” McGuire said. “It’s something that’s really engaging and students can really find their personal voices.”

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