Ariana Brown, Alan Pelaez Lopez host intersectional poetry reading

Writers host intersectional poetry reading

Syracuse University's LGBTQ+ and Latinx community come together in poetry.
Published: October 15, 2021
Ariana Brown, Alan Pelaez Lopez host intersectional poetry reading
Ariana Brown (left) and Alan Pelaez Lopez (right) speak about their experiences growing up as members of the LGBTQ, Black, and Latinx community.

Members of the LGBTQ and Latinx communities joined together to celebrate both poetry and acceptance as poets, Alan Pelaez Lopez and Ariana Brown, read their work aloud to a room of SU students.

Held at Watson Theater, next to the Light Work gallery, Brown talked about her experiences as a queer Latina woman while Lopez spoke about the reality of undocumented immigrants and the future of Black people in America.

The event hosted the LGBTQ+ History Month Potash Keynote and Latinx Hispanic Heritage Month Keynote speakers together to give a collaborative and intersectional look at the LGBTQ+ and Latinx identities.

Breana Nieves Vergara, Coordinator of the Mentoring Programs at the Office of Multicultural Affairs at SU, said, “We’re hoping that with the intersections of their identities, and the different communities that they represent that we’re bringing an intersectional approach to both of our history months, our heritage month[s].”

Due to COVID-19, there were not many members of the audience there but those that did come felt a special connection to the poetry, eagerly hanging on to every word that came from either Alan Pelaez Lopez or Ariana Brown. Brown’s poetry struck home with many students and faculty, focusing primarily on equality and acceptance.

“Should I ever forget that black people have demonstrated the greatest acts of humanity, of courage, that we are no one’s second choice,” said Brown in one of her poems. “That no matter where they put us on a map, we will find each other, create our homeworlds, and they will be enough.”

Alternative Text
Alan Pelaez Lopez reads one of their poems aloud as images from their book flash onto the screen.

Lopez’s poetry also focused heavily on acceptance as well as remembering the people who have died due to racial injustice or violence. Having lived blocks away from where Nia Wilson was murdered in 2018, Lopez’s poetry speaks up against racism and common misconceptions from growing up in a cross-cultural world. Lopez even said that they would write to vent and get their feelings off their chest.

“I couldn’t understand how nobody could see the links between slavery and legality and how legality is part of the afterlife of slavery,” said Lopez. “I literally was always writing, and it got to a point where I was a wreck. I was crying, and people were literally getting up and moving away from me when I was on the Metro-North.”

For many students, coming to these events is a form of acceptance as well as a learning experience for all students to bring them together. For photography senior Torian Love, doing what feels right to you is what truly matters, not what others want you to do.

“Don’t let anyone tell you that this specific subject is superficial, or this style isn’t good enough,” said Love. “Just start with what fuels you to be interested in the first place. And then from there, you can evolve to create your own style.”