The ‘voices of a people’s history’

Brittany Johnson

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Members of the B.E.A.T. club recited historical speeches and reminded audience members about the tough economic times currently facing us on Sept. 24 in Saville Theatre at the Voices of a People’s History event.

“I hope this is an opportunity for you to become inspired and to work within your own community, ” Larissa Dorman, faculty member and advisor of B.E.A.T.

Ariana Moraes recited Declaration of Sent from Elizabeth Cady Stanton; Patrick Namwembe read Fourth of July by Fredrick Douglas; Crystal Browning performed a speech by Mother Jones; Anthony Ortiz delivered Mario Savio’s Berkeley Free Speech; Jeffrey Karaha recited Steal This Book by Abbie Hoffman; and John Sciortino performing Why We Fight by Vito Russo.

The group prepared for the event in the Summer. Dorman asked the students to pick famous American speeches that they felt related to them and asked if they would feel comfortable reading them to an audience.

Although all of the performances were powerful, audience members commented on the outstanding job by Patrick Nanbemwe and Anthony Ortiz.

Nanbemwe said he chose the Fourth of July speech by Fredrick Douglas because he has respect for Douglas.

“I am impressed and fascinated by Fredrick Douglas’ writings; his speech teaches us to educate ourselves and love one another,” he said.

Ortiz said he prepared by watching Mario Savio’s Berkeley Free Speech to capture the same energy it had in 1964. “I memorized the speech for animation,” Ortiz said.

B.E.A.T member Jose Rodriguez delivered a special message: “History does repeat itself. You should question things, analyze them and educate yourself. If you’re not involved, then who is? Start from the bottom up.”

Dorman’s said that her goal for this fresh club is to involve the students in the community. She encourages students to become interested in challenging the issues around them.

You may see the B.E.A.T. students walking through campus with anti-war armbands from time to time. Their persistence to educate provides City College with an array of upcoming events co-sponsored by the World Cultures, History & Political Science Department.

The musical talents of two students were also showcased during the event. Alex Trossen serenaded the audience on guitar with two songs entitled, “Gather Round the Stone,” and “The Times They Are a Changin.” Dustin Correia performed an original rap called, “Political Epiphany.”
Correia’s rap includes such lines as: “The more I learn, the more I don’t want to know. Who’s going to tell you what the news don’t show?” and, “But it’s never too late, gotta wake up the world.” The audience clapped along.

Reactions after the performance were optimistic. Student and audience member Maria Martinez said she was moved by the speeches and “believes it is healthy for individuals to speak out.”

City student Luis Arteaga said, “This group really stood out saying education is important and we need more involvement.”

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