The Fresno State Women’s Alliance, along with USU Productions, hosted “An evening of Poetry by, for, and about women.”
The open mic poetry slam event took place Thursday night at The Bucket on campus.
“The purpose of the poetry event was to create an opportunity for Fresno State students to interactively engage in a poetry slam that was attuned to social issues,” said Women’s Alliance president Krysten Cherkaski.
“It was some kind of mushing of activism and art,” Cherkaski said.
Women’s Alliance is a social justice activism group that focuses on women’s issues. Its mission is to promote empowerment, activism and sisterhood.
“We as a club wanted to host an open mic style event that was specifically feminist or social justice oriented,” Cherkaski said.
As the crowd arrived at The Bucket, organizers welcomed and encouraged students to wear a purple bracelet, which represents domestic violence awareness.
Trained peer counselors from the Women’s Resource Center were available throughout the event as well for students who needed support.
Students were encouraged to read poems, quotes or any words about women.
“It can be an extremely powerful experience to hear narratives about oppression through spoken word,” Cherkaski said.
Juan LaMont, a student that had been sitting in the crowd for about forty-five minutes, recited an original poem he wrote during the event.
“I got here at 6 p.m. and I have been writing since then,” LaMont said. “I titled my poem ‘My Queen.’”
Maria Flores, a junior psychology major, said that she liked the event because it allowed people to express their ideas in a respectful way.
“Something that stood out to me during the event was that people in the crowd were very respectful,” Flores said. “They would clap and cheer for students, even if they just said a word.”
Flores mentioned that she learned that the event was not just for women but for men as well.
“The event impacted me in a way that I need to be open-minded about poems and how people express them,” Flores said. “My favorite poem was recited by a gentlemen.”
Jessica Adams, coordinator of the Women’s Resource Center, said that the event was a success.
“It can be hard to get people up to talk so it was nice to see that we had people in the crowd show support to students who shared poems,” Adams said.
“This event impacted me because it was rejuvenating to see how young generations care about issues that are still present in society,” she added.
Poem topics ranged from women’s appreciation and hard work to issues on body image and sexuality.
Students interested in getting involved with the Women’s Alliance organization can join its meetings held on Tuesdays at 12:30 p.m. in the Thomas Building room 104.