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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

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

Published On: June 24, 2015 | Tags: ,
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