A poetry jam event on the Fresno State campus this week shined the light on women – in honor of Women’s History Month.
“This is a platform to acknowledge women,” said Clarence Obichere, one of the Fresno State students who helped organize the event. “We want to give them a chance to be able to share what they have to say.”
The university’s Cross Cultural and Gender Center hosts a monthly poetry jam. All are welcome to sign up and perform. Obichere said the the organizers aim to create a place for others to gain insight.
“We always try to educate people to get rid of ignorance,” she said.
Jasmine Valdovinos, a Fresno State student majoring in social work, recited a poem she wrote about her mother.
“It’s about how when I was growing up, I felt like my mom wasn’t really there for me,” Valdovinos said.
Writing the poem helped her sort out her emotions, she said.
“As I got older, I started to realize that I had a lot of anger towards her,” Valdovinos said. “Writing this poem is a way to express myself and reach out to her.”
The first line of the poem, a metaphor, read: “I wish my mom had her voice back.” Her mother’s suffered an injury to her voice box, altering her speech.
“She actually did lose her voice, and she also lost her ability to be a strong woman,” Valdovinos said.
It was Valdovinos’ first time performing her poetry for an audience. She said it was “exhilarating.”
Adrian Carli, a Fresno State graduate, recited a poem that centered on the fetishization and objectification of transgender women. Carli is a transgender woman.
“Sometimes, trans women – we’re not seen as people,” Carli said. “I think it’s important to show that we’re people, too.”
Carli said she appreciates poetry for giving her a platform to express herself. She said it’s a way for her to “complain” about her feelings without actually complaining. On a stage and with a microphone, it can pass as art, she said.