Missouri Western Celebrates Women’s History Month with an open mic event

Passion, celebration, cheers and a few tears summed up Missouri Western’s Hear Me Roar: A Women’s Open Mic.

The open mic event, held on Wednesday, March 22, brought together women of all ages and backgrounds in honor of Women’s History Month. Western’s Women’s History Month committee and Canvas, Western’s literary magazine, hosted the event.

Since March of 2013, Western has conducted a series of events to recognize Women’s History Month; each year the activities, events and lectures are centered around one theme. The theme for this year focused on gendering art and health.

Hear Me Roar, orchestrated by Dr. Marianne Kunkel, assistant professor of creative writing and publishing, gave individuals the opportunity to confidently read original poems, stories and songs or content by his or her favorite author. All self-identifying women were more than welcome to participate and men were as well, as long as they read material written by a woman.

Many of the poems were uniquely crafted by the participants, a few of the poem and spoken word pieces also being featured in the upcoming issue of Canvas. One of the student participants was Arniecea Johnson, editor-in-chief of Canvas. Johnson, a double major in English Literature and Creative Writing and Publishing, read a powerful piece she had previously written.

“I actually thought it was a beautiful environment seeing women and men get up and share poems,” Johnson said. “It was really emotional and it was really fun. I actually enjoyed it.”

The topic of poems ranged from first-hand experiences working in sales, politics, sexual assault and healing from previous relationships to celebrating the strength of the women.

“I think if you find a designated space on a calendar for a certain person it means there’s a lack of that in the rest of the calendar,” Kunkel said. “To have women’s history month is a time to really do some work to be loud, to be clear about who we are and hope that we carry that momentum into the rest of the calendar year.”

Dr. Julie Novkov of SUNY-Albany’s lecture at an event hosted by Pi Sigma Alpha served as the final “hoo-rah” to wrap up the Month’s festivities.