EC celebrates National Poetry Month in the form of a Slam Poetry Competition

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Jeremiah Riley Photo credit: Jaimie Woods

El Camino College celebrated National Poetry Month by hosting its second Slam Poetry Competition in the Distance Education Building on Thursday, April 26.

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The Slam Poetry Competition was held on Thursday, April 26 in the Distance Education Building. Photo credit: Jaimie Woods
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Willie Guardado hears his poem evaluating result during the Slam Poetry Competition on Thursday, April 26. Photo credit: Mari Inagaki

“April is the month that the nation celebrates poetry,” Analu Cruz-Josephides, Assistant Professor Reference Librarian said. “I’m hoping that we as a committee agree upon making this an annual event.”

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El Camino student poet Tomi Yamamoto in the slam poetry competition on Thursday April 26, 2018 at El Camino College Photo credit: Jaimie Woods

The poems at the event varied from talks about the annoyance of one’s grammar to social injustices and experiences with sexual assault.

“We don’t understand how sexual assault affects men especially gay men,” Damon Lawson, 20, education major said.

Lawson who won second place hopes to shine a light on the effects of sexual assault on gay men.

“According to the Human Rights campaign gay men are assaulted 30 percent more than any other demographic,” Lawson said. “But only five percent of us ever talk out about it because of the repercussions of speaking out about it.”

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The audience applauds during the Slam Poetry Competition on Thursday, April 26. Photo credit: Jaimie Woods
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The Slam Poetry Competition was held on Thursday, April 26 in the Distance Education Building. Photo credit: Jimmie Joyner

This years first place winner Avion Warner spoke on the struggles of being black in current-day America.

“It’s kind of sketchy for me to walk down the streets and have police looking at me and I see them look at me the whole [time], and it irritates my soul,” Warner, 18, psychology major, said. “It wasn’t a hate poem, it was just more of a social injustice for all races.”

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First place winner Avion Warner during the Slam Poetry Competition on Thursday, April 26. Photo credit: Jaimie Woods

He hopes that people hearing his poem will take peace and positivity from his words.

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Slam Poetry Competition finalists from right to left: 4th place Tomi Yamamoto, 5th place Riley Staal, 1st place Warner Avio, 2nd place Damon Mitchell, and 3rd place Jeremiah Riley. Photo credit: Jaimie Woods

“I hope people take the truth and vision, the reality of America and how cruel it could be,” Warner said. “America is still beautiful, but there are a lot of injustices that we have to work on as human beings.”