by Ana Fonseca
In celebration of Black History Month, the University of Portland will host its seventh annual African American Read-In and free cultural dinner on Thursday, February 19th at 5:30 PM in the Terrace Room.
The African American Read-In is a national dedication to literary guests sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). Multicultural Programs, the Office of Student Activities, and the English department, invite all students, faculty, and staff to share in the celebration of dinner and reading.
The UP community not only has the opportunity to enjoy a tasty cultural meal which is set to include barbeque chicken, cornbread, black-eyed peas, collard greens, and either pecan pie or peach cobbler for dessert, but also has the opportunity to hear and connect with a speaker from our very own area, Avel Gordly. In 1996, Avel Gordly was the first African American woman voted to the Oregon State Senate, and she currently works as a black studies professor at PSU.
Perhaps the main portion of the evening is the occasion given to each guest to read a piece by a favorite African-American author. The African American Read-In is a special, organic, and spontaneous time outside of the classroom to partake and delight in reading, sharing, and listening. The different African American voices each guest brings to the table and the way they will speak to and across each other is a kind of magic to anticipate.
Though reading is not required, it is highly encouraged. Bethany Sills, head of Diversity and Multicultural programs, and Elvia Gaona, student diversity events coordinator, are working to organize this event. They suggest Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni, June Jordan, speeches by MLK, and even lyrics by Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye, as good starting places if one is looking to explore African American writing, or for a piece to share at the Read-In.
Most importantly, the African American Read-In is a time to come together to celebrate African-American poetry and prose, to recognize a historically oppressed group that we have limited highlighting throughout time, and to bring into the light the unique and eloquent voices of black America.
To RSVP, follow the link: https://appsone.up.edu/PerfectForms/player.htm?f=v5CAggIl