Poet spreads sexual assault awareness

By Alissa Portner, Contributing Writer ||

This week the F&M campus was delighted to have Staceyann Chin speak at the Take Back the Night celebration. Chin is a LGBT and feminist rights activist and is best known for her poetry performances. She utilizes her poetry to fight against the oppressive and constricting stereotypes that she has been subjected to throughout her life.

The Alice Drum Women’s Center, the Philadelphia Alumni Writer’s House, the Office of the Dean of the College, the women’s and gender studies department, Bonchek College House, Weis College House, and Mikaela Luttrell-Rowland, director of the Alice Drum Women’s Center and adjunct assistant professor of women’s and gender studies, worked tirelessly to bring Chin to F&M.

Chin sold out Barshinger Performing Arts Center and captivated the audience with her insightful poetry. Her stanzas were filled with a critique of the sexualized world that perpetuates within paradigms of “who” people should be and “how” they should act. She spoke directly to the victims of sexual assault, racism, and overall marginalization. Chin was a presenter with a meaningful message about how to stand up and be oneself but also about finding oneself within a world that often tries to define people. Her message was fierce and bare and this conversation epitomized her zeal and passion for change.

Chin was specifically chosen to come to Take Back the Night. While she speaks of many very somber and frightening life experiences, she also emphasizes the positive change and strength these experiences can bring to all victims. This event was meant to be an inspiration and to truly “take back the night,” through the power to stand up against sexual violence, both individually and collectively.

Chin grew up in Jamaica and, as both a woman and a lesbian, she was subject to immense amounts of violence and brutality. She stressed the difficulties within her childhood, youth, and adulthood but also correlated these to her decision to move to the U.S. and redefine who she was based on who she actually desired to be.

Chin spoke about her longing to break all conventional societal molds by reciting many of her famous poems. Topics ranged from sexual violence to love and
passion.

 

Sophomore Alissa Portner is a contributing writer. Her email is aportner@fandm.edu.

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