LAST WORDS: GIVING VICTIMS A VOICE
Last Words: Giving Victims a Voice
Workshop by David A. Romero
AGES: 18+ CONTAINS IMAGES AND VIDEO OF GRAPHIC VIOLENCE WHICH MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR YOUNGER AUDIENCES. TRIGGER WARNING ADVISORY.
$500 (plus travel and lodging)
Students receive cards as they walk in (before presentation)
Introduction and poems by David A. Romero - 10 minutes
Multimedia presentation and students reading cards - 30 minutes
Moment of silence and oath - 5 minutes
Student writing time - 30 minutes
Student reading time - 30 minutes
Student discussion time - 15 minutes
Total time: 120 minutes (2 hrs)
Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Razan Mohammed Abu-Salha, Tommy Le, Brisenia Flores, Matthew Shepard, and Islan Nettles. Their names are familiar to lovers of social justice everywhere. Their stories have been carried on long after their tragic ends. Let's give these and other victims of hate crimes and/or police brutality a voice!
Participants enter and receive a card with the name and information of a victim. Each story is read aloud. After observing a moment of silence, participants write poems from the perspective of these individuals; often painfully capturing their last moments.
Each participant is made to swear an oath before they begin writing, "I solemnly swear, to tell the story of my person as truthfully and sincerely as possible. I do this to honor their memory, call attention to the injustice of their death and to support those who continue to live with their struggle. I might not know much about the person I have been given. That's ok. I have an imagination. I can use it. I understand that not everyone here will know as much about these people that I might, or understand their struggle as clearly. I promise not to judge anyone for their interpretation of these last words and moments as long as I feel that what they are writing is in the spirit of sincerity and solidarity."
Participants are given time to write their poems and are encouraged to read their poems aloud in front of the group. This is followed by an open discussion on the feelings evoked from the workshop and the many issues presented.
***The exact list of the victims of hate crimes and police brutality can vary from presentation to presentation. If you or your organization have a request that a name, or names, be added to the presentation, Romero will take your request into consideration and will most likely be happy to tailor the presentation to your needs.
Last Words: Giving Victims a Voice helps participants learn more about people of different races, genders, sexual preferences, and economic backgrounds and endeavors to motivate students to do their part to stop the violence. Not always an outsider's experience, Last Words is also an opportunity for students to learn more about people from their own identity, or intersectional identities, and to give them a new sense of purpose and urgency to combat intolerance and promote solidarity.
CATEGORIES: POLITICS, CURRENT EVENTS, WRITING, DISCUSSION
Watch videos recorded of "Last Words: Giving Victims a Voice" at Sewanee: The University of the South below.
Last Words: Giving Victims a Voice has been presented at:
The National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE)
Sewanee: The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee
Loyola University Chicago
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Rush University in Chicago, Illinois
Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington
William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey
St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota
Hampden-Sydney College in Farmville, Virginia
Morrisville State College in Morrisville, New York
Cal State Fullerton
Cal Poly Pomona
David A. Romero has developed a flyer template for this workshop. You can see examples of flyers made from that template above. If you decide to book Last Words: Giving Victims a Voice, Romero can design a version of this flyer for the event for no extra fee.
Longer workshops, as well as multiple sessions, to culminate in a student “Slam,” (poetry competition) can be negotiated.
Professional-looking books and chapbooks to collect student work produced during workshops to be made available two months after workshops are conducted can also be negotiated.
*All workshops include a performance from David A. Romero.
**Workshop requires projector, projection screen, laptop connection, sound system and microphone (preferably cordless). Paper and writing utensils must be provided by students or host institution(s).
$500 (plus travel and lodging)
Travel and lodging can be handled in two ways: 1) the university makes the arrangements on Romero's behalf (preferred) or, 2) Romero makes the arrangements and is reimbursed with the total check.
For booking, contact: