WICHITA, Kan. - Poetry rocked the room at the Riverside Perk in Wichita, on a recent Sunday evening, and it will rock the whole outdoors again with readings and a human peace sign on Sept. 21 at Poetic Justice.
The Perk air conditioning went out just as poetry and peace lovers arrived, but that didn't stop the performance. People made their own brand of cool with poetry ranging from rap to rhyme to free verse.
The Peace and Social Justice Center and the Youth Peace Center sponsored the Poetry Slam. All ages came to the event, which launched the latest Youth Peace Group initiative, Poets for Peace, who plan to visit such locations as juvenile detention centers, youth organizations, and long-term care facilities engendering youth empowerment by teaching the benefits of self-expression and public speaking.
Carl Kirkendoll, Wichita poet and organizer of a weekly poetry slam, was the emcee for the event. He kept things moving with his "clap-clap-snap-snap," introducing each poet and reading some of his own energetic verses. Cindi Donaldson and Nathan Swink, Youth Peace Group organizers, pulled this event together and read their poems, as well. They joined the many poets who read poems of peace and justice, all with passion and conviction.
The next Poets for Peace event is set to take place as part of the International Day of Peace Festival. This day, Sept. 21, has been set aside by the United Nations as a celebration of peace around the world. Quoting from the International Day of Peace web site: "The International Day of Peace, observed each year on 21 September, is a global call for ceasefire and non-violence. This year, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is calling on young people around the world to take a stand for peace under the theme, Youth for Peace and Development."
Again from the International Day of Peace web site: "The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by resolution 36/67 of the United Nations General Assembly to coincide with its opening session, which was held annually on the third Tuesday of September. The first Peace Day was observed in September 1982. In 2001, the General Assembly by unanimous vote adopted resolution 55/282, which established 21 September as an annual day of non-violence and cease-fire. The UN invites all nations and people to honor a cessation of hostilities during the Day, and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace."
The Wichita area commemoration will feature live music, free food, poetry readings and family activities. Also, the call has gone out for at least 100 volunteers to make a human peace sign at 7:30 p.m.
These events will take place from 6 p.m.-midnight at the Poetic Justice Café, 300 S. Greenwich, one block north of Kellogg. For information call 316-613-2295. People should bring lawn chairs and blankets and poetry to read at the open mic.