On Thursday, March 30, in celebration of Women’s History Month, Skyline College hosted, “jessica Care moore: Art, Activism and Social Justice”. This program was co-sponsored by the Women’s Mentorship and Leadership Academy and the Division of Student Equity and Support Programs. The program began with welcoming remarks from dean Lasana Hotep. Kim Davalos, a counselor and faculty member at Skyline College, performed a poem as the opening act. Davalos was followed by King Thomas Moore, an artistic prodigy who performed three poems from his book, A Peace of a Poem. King is also the 10-year-old son of the main speaker.
jessica Care moore is a poet, writer, performance artist, producer, entrepreneur and international icon from Detroit, Michigan. During the program, moore shared that it was during her college years as a student activist at Wayne State University that she found poetry as a platform to get folks to move and act for social change. She stated that it was important to build an institution around her work instead of waiting to be given an opportunity to have her writing published and recognized. In 1997, moore started her own publishing company, Moore Black Press, where all of her books and the work of poets such as the legendary Saul Williams have been published.
moore performed published and unpublished works addressing misogyny, racism, white feminism, and how these systems exclude the voices and experiences of black women and women of color in the United States. Between each poem, moore provided commentary about the personal experiences, social justice issues, writers and artists that inspired each piece of writing. Her poem, We Want Our Bodies Back, was written for Sandra Bland, a black woman who committed suicide in a Texas jail cell three days after being arrested for a traffic stop. This poem talked about how black girls and women suffer, resist and try to survive the midst of racism and police brutality. She also performed the poem Petition for a National Holiday, an homage to black women whose physical, emotional and mental labor helped build the United States. However, there is still no national holiday dedicated to any woman in history. In the poem she states, “On this day this country will reflect on the sacrifices of Africa’s daughters who by force, have birthed your sons. This is just the beginning of my demands. This poem is a petition for a national holiday to acknowledge African-American women for the systematic use of our backs. Tell me, will you sign up?” moore’s intelligent, bold, brutally honest and powerful voice stunned a crowd of 130 Skyline College students, staff, faculty, administrators and community members.
moore’s closing performance was a poem from her debut album, Catch Me If You Can featuring Talib Kweli. The performance was followed by a brief Q& A session and book signing. Event participants received a free signed copy of moore’s books, Sunlight Through Bulletholes and God is Not an American. Jane Arias, a member of the Women’s Mentorship and Leadership Academy stated, “jessica grabs your attention as soon as she walks into the room. Her confidence, raw material and truth makes you feel empowered and gives you the strength to believe in yourself. As a woman, I walked away feeling lifted and motivated to push myself beyond the standard.” This program provided an invaluable forum for students, staff, faculty and administrators to engage with an artist and activist who could speak to women’s experiences and history. This program was also the culmination of various events and activities celebrating Women’s History Month at Skyline College.
Article by Katrina Pantig | Photos By Rossmia Coo