Local Dominican short story writer Rosa Sánchez, la Garó, led a spoken word event at the end of October with participation by 40 students studying Spanish, English for Speakers of Other Languages, Logic, Art and English. Our Master of Ceremonies was Darryl Brown, who provided bilingual banter and read his own work at the event. Other student participants read their own poetry in Spanish and English, including Reyna Martínez and Harry Demosthene. Professor Susan Kalt read an English translation of Sánchez’ work in parallel with the author.
One student audience member asked Sánchez to critique our all-college book, The Distance Between Us, by Reyna Grande, which is a poignant account of immigrating to the US as a Mexican child under harrowing circumstances. Sánchez expressed appreciation for this urgently relevant book.
One of Sánchez’ most memorable comments after reading two of her short stories in Spanish was that her own work involves constant revision and enjoyment of words. Student Pascale Anselme commented “Puedes ver que la escritura es su pasión solo por la forma en que se expresa mientras habla.” – “You can see that writing is her passion just by the way she expresses herself when she speaks.”
We also celebrated an indigenous Day of the Dead with Rosalba Solis of La Piñata Latin American Family Network. Approximately 30 students participated as Solis explained the meaning of the altar at which Mexican people typically dance and chant in Nahuatl, the language of their ancestors. Food was provided by students in Spanish II.
This year’s events were coordinated by Susan Kalt, who teaches Spanish 1, 2 and 3 at RCC. Professor Kalt thanked many contributors to the events, especially Gloria Castro and Nasreen Latif who helped with planning, Joann Hill who stepped in to assist with preparing contracts for guest speakers, Phuong Tang who designed beautiful posters, Jordan Smock and Andres Oroz who helped get the word out, and faculty members who participated with their students, including David Updike, Dustin Rollins, Gilda Sharpe-Etteh, Juanita Brunelle, Andy English and Fernando Bernava.
The set up in our newly refurbished Commons area was facilitated by Shanera Lindsey and Ken Hall with sound provided by Raymind Cruz and Mario Bycinte. Funding was provided by the Office for Student Life.