“Great ancestors, you are breath, you are bridge, you carry us over tumultuous time,” recited New Orleans poet Sunni Patterson to a Tuesday evening spoken word event at UC Santa Barbara’s MultiCultural Center. As she does below, she conveys the beauty and pain of being human into words.
“We often say that living in New Orleans is an act of resistance,” she said. She described the area as both a home and a burial ground, where its residents avoid talking about slavery’s legacy on the city’s culture. When people start digging to build a pool, she said, they often find bones in the ground.
Performing songs from the Jazz Age like “Ladybird,” by Tadd Dameron, and “My Shining Hour,” by John Coltrane, The Matt Perko Quintet captivated a UC Santa Barbara audience during a recent performance for the weekly World Music Series, put on by the UCSB Department of Music and the MultiCultural Center. Wednesdays, outside at the Bowl, or inside when it rains.
“A lot of people gravitate towards different musical genres,” Mallory Alvarez said. “Punk music gave me a feeling of freedom where I can express myself freely.”
Alvarez identifies as transfemme Chicanx. They came out as queer their freshman year at UC Santa Barbara and began their trans journey in their sophomore year. Punk music became an innovative way for Alvarez to channel their anger towards a system that they believe was not built for them. So, when they learned of an art exhibit titled “Vexed: The East L.A. Chicano Punk Scene” displaying in the Multicultural Center, they enthusiastically showed interest in attending.
Scholars, activists, and healers discussed the lack of opportunity given to formerly incarcerated students in the education system a colloquium called: The “Outlaw(ED) Intellectuals: Critiquing Structures of Power from Within.” The day-long event in UC Santa Barbara’s McCune Conference room was sponsored by the College of Letters and Science, the UCSB Multicultural Center, the Center for Black Studies Research, and several other organizations across campus.
Renowned Haitian singer Emeline Michel's performed at UC Santa Barbara as part of the Center for Black Studies Research's annual Haiti Flag Week, dedicated to celebrating Haitian culture and marking the country’s independence and the creation of its flag in May, 1803.
Other events included the screening of “Charcoal,” a short film by Haitian filmmaker and photographer Francesca Andre, which captures the parallel stories of two Black women and their lifelong journey to overcome internalized colorism as they find self-acceptance and ultimately redemption. And Jana Braziel, visiting from Miami University, spoke about her book “Riding with Death: Vodou Art and Urban Ecology in the Streets of Port-au-Prince.”