BY NATE ORBE — Three of New York’s finest poets visited campus on Thursday to speak on racial injustice, gender equality, and growing up in underprivileged communities.
Countless students gathered in the student center to celebrate Latinx Heritage while the pulse of the reggaeton drums reverberated throughout the room.
La Bruja and Friends Poetry Slam was one of 13 events organized on and off campus to celebrate the culture. The Organization of Latin American Students sponsored many events, including lectures, art performances and a chance to perform community service.
La Bruja, also known as Caridad De La Luz, was the lead speaker of the poetry slam. She is a Bronx native known for her poetry, but is also as an actress and activist. De La Luz is an ambassador of “Nuyorican” culture, and of Puerto Rican descent.
Caridad De La Luz spoke with students during a poetry slam in honor of Latinx Heritage (Photo taken by Nate Orbe).
De La Luz spoke on racial injustice, the power in being a Latin American, and the significance a performance can have on society.
“People won’t remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel,” said De La Luz.
As the event continued De La Luz brought her colleague on stage, Bonafide Rojas. Rojas, also a Nuyorican poet, has published five books and is currently on tour for his most recent work, Notes on the Return to the Island.
Rojas had a much more personal approach in his poetry. His long and curly hair bounced as he read poems about the beauty he sees in his son, New York, and his heritage. He performed his poem named Thirty Ways of Looking at a Nuyorican. He listed things like, “I always get lost in Queens” and “I do not know how to hotwire a car; I don’t even know how to drive.” Rojas’ personal approach to poetry was a hit with the audience making several students burst out in laughter.
The Poetry Slam’s final poet was Roya Marsh. Marsh is the 2014 Nuyorican Grand Slam Champion and the 2017 Brooklyn Grand Slam Champion. De La Luz and Rojas spoke into the provided microphone, but Marsh decided not to. She engaged with students intimately as she recited her poems about being gay in the black community, feminism, and social injustice. To close out her performance she freestyled a brand new poem which earned a lengthy ovation from students.
“The poetry was very engaging,” said Alex LaSaracina, a senior. “It had very political and challenging moments, but also emotional moments which was a good balance.”
Before the end of the event De La Luz urged students to gather and donate to relief in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Irma and Maria. The Organization of Latin American Students collected donations and gave t-shirts in return.