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A remembrance for the victims of the Charleston church shooting

A scene during the In Memory of the Charleston Victims: An Evening of Poetry and Music event held in the Fenway Center at Northeastern University

The Northeastern and greater Boston communities came together Tuesday night for an evening of poetry and music to remember the Charleston Victims.

Words spoken and sung can pro­vide an outlet when trying to under­stand tragedy and remem­bering those who were sense­lessly lost.

That was the moti­va­tion for a spe­cial event Tuesday night cen­tered around music and poetry to remember the nine people shot and killed last week at the his­toric Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

We have gath­ered here together to reflect deeply and with our souls and spirits on that tragedy,” said pro­fessor of law Mar­garet Burnham, who led efforts to orga­nize the evening’s event. “We are all hurt.”

More than 100 people, including Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun and Boston City Coun­cilor Tito Jackson, attended the event, which was held in the Fenway Center. The event fea­tured poetry read­ings and musical per­for­mances by artists from around the Boston-​​area, as well as per­sonal reflec­tions from three North­eastern Uni­ver­sity students.

Poetry and music tes­tify to human­i­ties’ capacity for great­ness, great com­pas­sion, and expan­sive gen­erosity,” – Lori Lefkovitz

Akira Brown, S’18, who is a member of the North­eastern Black Stu­dent Asso­ci­a­tion, explained that in order to take her atten­tion off the tragedy, she did research on Emanuel AME and found a reli­gious com­mu­nity that has over­come adver­sity after adversity.

Resilience is indica­tive of the black expe­ri­ence,” an emo­tional Brown said, “and just like the resilience of Emanuel AME, I too have become resilient.”

Brown added that while she knows con­ver­sa­tions about race can be “tiring and redun­dant,” she urged those in the audi­ence not to become desen­si­tized to vio­lence and oppression.

Six poets read including Nicole Terez Dutton, the poet lau­reate for the city of Somerville, Mass­a­chu­setts; Sonia Sanchez, recip­ient of the Robert Frost Medal for dis­tin­guished life­time ser­vice and author of more than a dozen books; and Robert Pinsky, former U.S. poet laureate.

Poetry and music tes­tify to human­i­ties’ capacity for great­ness, great com­pas­sion, and expan­sive gen­erosity,” said Lori Lefkovitz, the Rud­erman Pro­fessor and director of the Jewish Studies Pro­gram and director of the Human­i­ties Center, who also read a poem.

The event was spon­sored by the Center for Spir­i­tu­ality, Dia­logue and Ser­vice, the Civil Rights and Restora­tive Jus­tice Pro­gram, the Col­lege of Social Sci­ences and Human­i­ties, the North­eastern Human­i­ties Center, the John D. O’Bryant African-​​American Insti­tute, and the North­eastern Uni­ver­sity School of Law.

-By Joe O’Connell

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