Last Thursday, February 20, 2014, we joined forces with The Contemporary Jewish Museum for the fourth year to present WritersCorps Live at The CJM, an intergenerational reading. This year the featured author was performance poet Yvonne Fly Onakeme Etaghene. She performed along with WritersCorps teaching artists Roseli Ilano and harold terezón, and 11 students from 7 different WritersCorps sites in San Francisco.
Before the reading, interns from The CJM’s Teen Art Connect program treated about 80 WritersCorps students to a private tour of Jason Lazarus’ exhibit “Live Archive.” A portion of the exhibit focused on the Occupy Movement posters.
After the tour, the TAC interns led our youth through a creative arts workshop where they got to speak their minds and create their our own protest signs.
The students enjoyed some pizza while Yvonne fielded their questions about being a professional writer. A Sanchez Elementary student bravely raised her hand first and asked a question about performing, “What do you do when you mess up?”
Helen Jimenez from the San Francisco Public Library kicked off the reading, followed by Susana Robles from the Hilltop School. Next, third-year WritersCorps Teaching Artist harold terezón read poems about home and family.
The harold introduced his students: Wilson Chen and Cecilia Vigil from Aptos Middle School, followed by our youngest reader of the night, fourth grader Ifat Maru from Sanchez Elementary.
International Studies Academy student, Rowan Ellis, read a deeply personal piece to a rapt audience.
Rowan Ellis with ISA WritersCorps Teaching Artist Sandra Garcia Rivera
Next, Roseli Ilano, a third-year teaching artist, dropped us right into an intense airport security moment when she read from her short story.
Roseli introduced her Mission High School students Micah Delarosa, Celia Valle, and Rama Miro, who was also representing Oasis for Girls.
The voices of our incarcerated students at the Woodside Learning Center inside the Juvenile Justice Center were also heard when the recorded poems of young writers T.K. and K.M. filled the auditorium. (Listen to the poems here.)
Warmed up and ready to keep clapping, the audience received our featured reader, the talented Yvonne Fly Onakeme Etaghene. She treated us to an engaging performance of poetry that had the audience laughing, sighing, and calling out her name. Her poems talked about home, writing, being and not being American, and loving oneself.
After the reading, Yvonne was swarmed by students asking for her signature on her chapbook.
Thank you to everyone who attended the event and supported the work of our students and teaching artists! It was a packed house and we were thrilled to see all of you. Check out more photos from the event here on our Flickr page. Thank you to photographer Andria Lo!