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Performance @ “Take back the mic” Event at the University of Maryland

Written by Jessica Philie

WoGPI (the Women of GPI, otherwise known as “GPIGs”) took back the mic at the Feminist Activists of Maryland’s “Take Back the Mic” show hosted by Julie Lipson at University of Maryland, College Park. Students, teachers, parents, and kids filled up a large conference room in St. Mary’s Hall on Friday evening, April 21, 2006, to enjoy a show with cause: the show honored “Take Back the Night,” a campaign that raises awareness about violence against women and furthers women’s liberation, especially freedom of movement; “Take Back the Mic” was also a fund-raiser for the Elise Martin Crosby (EMC) Fund, which provides educational scholarships to survivors of domestic violence in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

WoGPI had a 15-20 minute set. Cherie Latson kicked it off with “Bitch” (not necessarily its title, but it’s what we remember after we hear it); she had to get some clearance from the parents in the audience to make sure swearing was okay–it really can’t be done without the swearing. So after the “pow! we’re here” start, we heard poems from Laila Sheeren Sakr and Laurie Blair about the struggle for survival in ravished nations and underserved populations, as well as women’s empowerment. Then all of WoGPI present, the three already mentioned and Jessica Philie, Juliana Landim, and Kristen Arant, did their group piece “Fight for Our Rights.”

Previously performed at a February YWDEP fundraiser, “Fight for Our Rights” includes 5-6 voices (with potential to expand) with a drum and speaks to the struggle, frustration, hope, personalities, and determination of women fighting for equal rights. It honored the spirit of the event and made people clap and sing along. Mo Alem and Shahid Buttar of the GPI came out to support. Non-GPI acts of note included an awesome youth jump roping team, a mini open mic featuring an impressive little university jam band (who apparently threw their act together very last minute for the event–very GPI), and Anais Mitchell, a beautiful singer from Vermont.

Julie Lipson is a student at UMD and wrote a thesis about “Take Back the Mic.” She was also the intern for Kristen Arant’s Young Women’s Drumming Empowerment Project (YWDEP). WoGPI had a good time working with her and performing at UMD.

1 Comment »

  1. Good article! We will be linking to this great post
    on our website. Keep up the great writing.

    My blog: Adam Said – Sallie,

    Comment by Sallie — October 20, 2014 @ 2:10 pm

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The DC Guerrilla Poetry Insurgency (GPI) is an anti-authoritarian, collaborative, pro-humanity artists' collective incorporating music, rhythm, spoken word, community and resistance.

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