Sixteen stoic faces dressed in decorated white t-shirts faced a room full of family, friends, and on-lookers who were eager to hear what they had to say. With a resounding chorus, all sixteen inductees filled their lungs with emotion and spoke unadulterated truth to the packed room.
Voices Poetry Group’s new member induction ceremony was nothing short of breath taking. The event was held Thursday, in the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication’s gallery, which was fitting considering the poetic art that filled the room throughout the night.
Amongst the new inductees were a handful of freshmen students, who graced the campus of Florida A&M University less than four months ago, also known as #FAMU20 on social media. FAMU’s newest class has shown that their presence is mighty both online and on campus.
Delivering poems on topics such as molestation, mental illness, police brutality, and white supremacy, the new inductees did not hold anything back.
For freshman inductee Jermanie Lewis, Voices has been a builder of her confidence and a place for some much needed healing.
“I would describe my experience with Voices as inspirational and uplifting,” Lewis said. “Being in a group like Voices has allowed me to express myself and explain my difficult situation in the simplest form: words.”
Dedrick Douglas, FAMU freshman, said that the group has been a place of acceptance.
“So far, my experience with Voices has taught me that although people can be different, together their united personalities can offer unique approaches to solving problems.”
For Douglas, his road to FAMU was a twisted one. Originally planning to join the work force straight after his high school graduation, Douglas almost became a victim in a deadly, drive-by shooting in his hometown of Fort Myers, FL. Taking his family’s advice to attend college away from home, Douglas has been able to find a home right here on “The Hill.”
“Voices has allowed me to be a part of a very unique family,” Douglas said. “I believe that it is important to let your voice be heard and Voices has allowed me to sharpen my style of poetry to one that delivers a powerful message.”
This kind of resilience and responsibility has been a common theme in the freshmen students and even inspired their fellow classmates to get involved on campus.
“I came to support a new member of the Voices poetry group,” said FAMU freshman Carmen Grant. “I learned that it’s very important for freshmen to get involved on campus because it makes the transition [from high school] to college so much easier.”
As freshmen continue to find their places here on FAMU’s campus, hopefully clubs and organizations like Voices Poetry Group will continue to welcome the newest additions to the Hill with open ears and open hearts.