It is not okay for these administrators to be taking my body into these offices without me.

Dismembering my vagina to define it and take ownership of my agency.

Putting my body on the table and discussing how it was offensive, taking my liberation and using it against me, strategizing on how they can diffuse the power of what happened that night.

My identity has become the landscape for this battle.

Spoken Word Poetry:

I was taught that spoken word poetry started in the east coast, originating in Latin@ communities then Black neighborhoods as an “alternative venue where non-Columbia/NYU educated, poor, Spanglish-speaking, racially oppressed groups carved their own space” to challenge norms that silence them in a form that is meant to be experienced immediately with “particular rhetorical practices and discursive tropes that make it “SPOKEN WORD” as opposed to “poetry read aloud.” I was taught spoken word was in my blood – I found it there.

Spoken word begins with a voice that is “loud, upset, slightly angry (or a lot angry) because the imagined addressee of the poem is POWER (or those in power).” Anger is uncensored truth.

“The second device is the use of concrete objects that hold some sort of sacred value to the dominant group. This object is then re-signified by the poet by placing the object in settings or within language that provokes thought and even indignation. The point is to empty that powerful object and locate it or signify its felt and actual meaning by the speaker in arenas where you would never speak of the object (such as sexuality, abuse, economic injustice) to expose the link of those “sacred” objects to oppressive systems …”

I was told “…The reaction is actually the immediate goal of spoken word”. So I wrote to  release all that was forbidden inside me – without fear of the reaction.

“ It’s just that in [Crystal’s] case, they knew the contents of the poem before [she] spoke (something that Piñero would never agree to) and they censored [her].  Never let power, especially when they somehow are the ones that “hold the mic,” know what you’re going to say.  If it’s effective, it’ll challenge them, make them angry and indignant. If they know how they’ll feel beforehand, you won’t get a chance to speak if they can help it”

– From a Professor, a mentor, an ally.

In this school, from the people I have met, I have unlearned so much and it has liberated me!

I am taking a feminist theology course this semester that empowers me to face my religion and sexuality and to use the hermeneutics of remembrance and suspicion on my own experiences and beliefs.

I CAN embrace and take the Virgin Mary/Maria/Maryam into the most sacred part of myself. For once, I am choosing who can be inside my body! I have been fed the body of Christ and I have drunk the blood of Christ.

Now I take a colored women into the most sacred place of my being! I will not consume her – my mouth was rendered unsacred – too unsacred for her – When they “cut my tongue in E.S.L.” and fed me Christ’s body before I could understand what it meant!

Others have decided what is offensive about my body. I am not ashamed of my vagina. I used Maria as a way to keep things out and keep things in. I feel free to say that I held on to my virginity to protect me from the fear of being unworthy – and that was not okay. I can say these things and not feel afraid. I am not afraid of these parts of me.

No matter what an institution does – they will not disempower me or taint what I learned and unlearned at Fairfield University. I will not let them commit that injustice to the professors that devoted themselves to showing us the truth, the peers that stood with me and continue to stay up long nights with me, to my parents who made this education a reality.

You cannot touch this. You cannot disempower this student body. We were forged in the furnace of our specific social locations and experiences. Do not underestimate who we are.

P.S. If a department at this institution ever forces my mother to defend me, my brother to watch me be dehumanized – if my family is ever disrespected and intruded upon again I will use both of my condemnable tongues to #ShattertheSilence.

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