By Shoshana Dubnow and Isabel Lohman

Five minutes before the first performer was set to take the stage, the standing crowd of people at Cafe Berlin buzzed with a sense of anticipation for OneMic’s “The Art of Resistance.”

T’Keyah “TK” Thomas and MU student Andrew “Hutch” Hutchinson hosted the event. While these nights occurs almost monthly, on Friday, the restaurant had to enforce a “one in, one out” policy due to the restaurant reaching full capacity.

“It’s a good problem to have,” Thomas said.

Thomas explained that OneMic is especially important because it “gives the community something to do.” She believes people tend to stay at home when they’re frustrated. Her goal with OneMic is to give people a place to take action immediately.

This theme of taking action is what led Thomas’ co-host Hutchinson to run for the First Ward Columbia City Council seat. While the night was not centered around his campaign, he spoke right before intermission about how the Columbia community needs to speak out to improve economic disparities present in First Ward.

Twelve poets read their original works to the audience. While there were mentions of Trump, other topics included sexual assault, race, complicated family relationships and distorted body image.

Resistance extended past the poetry being read; some people even expressed it through their clothing. One man wore a “Not my President” shirt, and another wore a “Nah. -Rosa Parks, 1955” shirt.

“In general, these spaces are necessary,” Julien Grayer, a first-time attendee, said.

Grayer explained that in light of the inauguration, it is important to find a sense of solidarity with others. He believes people are more alike than they are different, regardless of political viewpoint.

Audience members all had their own reasons for coming to the event, but what united them was a desire for change. Ann Breidenbach, a Cafe Berlin regular, saw the night as a combination of art and resistance. She appreciated how the event allowed individuals to “resist the culture of hate and intolerance.”

Every poet and musician had the power of silencing the entire building with their words. Some of the notable poets included Justice McGee, whose daughter was a survivor of sexual assault, and Miranda Craig, who wouldn’t speak to her mother for a month after finding out she voted for Trump. The event’s featured poet, Tiana Williams, read four of her favorite pieces highlighting her previous struggles.

“Sorry officer, I can’t take off my black,” Williams said in one of her poems.

In addition to poetry, guests admired art made by Lisa Bartlett, the owner of Artlandish Gallery.

“If there’s one thing we need right now, it’s love and kindness and community, but most of all, we need organization and action,” Hutchinson said.

Edited by Aviva Okeson-Haberman | arodn9@mail.missouri.edu 

 

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