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Indiana University Hosts Annual African-American Read-In

Bloomington high school students are trying to break down racial barriers through poetry and song.

Bloomington high school students are trying to break down racial barriers through poetry and song.

Photo: Marlon Mora

Woman speaks in the Neal Marshall Black Culture Center on the IU campus.

More than a hundred high school students gathered today at Indiana University to celebrate Black History Month.

Some students used songs to express their thoughts on race relations. Others read from original poems and essays.

Bloomington High School South Sophomore Erykah Hamilton read an emotional piece she wrote about growing up with a single-mother.

“People who are usually quiet in school, when they come to this event…I feel like, more people come out of their shells because it’s really comfortable being here,” Hamilton says. “It feels like you’ve known these people forever and you know they aren’t going to say anything so I feel like this is a very comfortable environment.”

Over the twelve years the event has been going on, IU Neal Marshall Center Director Stephanie Power-Carter says students have become more comfortable sharing their personal stories.

“I think oftentimes the African-Americans don’t always feel they have the space and time to talk about it – but also the white students,” Power-Carter says. “You noticed that it’s always diverse, because they also see those experiences their peers are having.”

Carter says the read-in gives them a chance to explain to their friends that they understand and can empathize with what they are going through.

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