Armed With Our Voices
During Governor Mike DeWine’s COVID-19 press conference on March 22 announcing an Ohio stay-at-home order, Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said, “I know it feels like life is shutting down, but I feel like life is waking us up.” At the Wick Poetry Center, we believe in the power of poetry to wake us up and bring us together, especially during these difficult times of uncertainty and isolation.
Over the past two weeks, we have been working hard to convert many of our programs, creative writing tools, and interactive traveling exhibits to an online platform, so that you may engage from home and share your voice in a creative community conversation.
This week, we are pleased to announce that our interactive exhibit Armed with Our Voices is available online. Created in partnership with the May 4 Visitors Center, Stephanie Smith, Associate Professor, College of Communication & Information, and other colleagues, Armed with Our Voicescommemorates the 50th anniversary of the tragic shootings at Kent State University on May 4th, 1970, and connects our history to the contemporary moment—our polarized, divided communities, gun violence issues, economic disparity, and social and racial injustice.
As one of the founding members of the Poetry Coalition, the Wick Poetry Center had planned to install this exhibit in March on the Kent campus and in several national locations, which would have allowed us to participate in the Poetry Coalition’s coordinated March programming theme: “I am deliberate / and afraid / of nothing: Poetry & Protest.” We have postponed installing the exhibit until the pandemic is over. For now, we invite you to visit the digital exhibit, to pause and listen deeply to these voices, download lesson plans, and view the gallery of poems on peace and conflict transformation selected by Naomi Shihab Nye (links below). Then, most of all, we hope you will shareyour own voice.
Watch Interviews with Chic Canfora and KSU Students Browse Responses from Armed with Our Voices Listening Wall
Life will not shut us down. Rather, we believe, along with Dr. Amy Acton, that this difficult and disorienting time will wake us up to the power in our own voices and bring us together in new and creative ways.