People voice our collected history

Students recite the work of activists in Saville  Theatre


Few seats were vacant at the Saville Theatre Sept. 22 when the BEAT presented their third annual rendition of “Voices from a People’s History.”

Like the two previous presentations, “Voices from a People’s Histry” featured City College students reciting from the works and protests taken from author Howard Zinn’s compilation of the same name.  The source speakers ranged from high profile political activists and freedom fighters to obscure authors and teachers.

Cody McCormack, first time participant and representative of the newly created Employee Rights Center, chose linguistic professor and political scientist Noam Chomsky as the subject of his recital.

“It’s pretty rare that a scientist [Chomsky] gets involved, so it intrigued me,” McCormack said. “I enjoyed it a lot, I would definitely do it again.”

Returning participants included Bianca Belmonte, Jessica Magpie, Cassie Carillo and Angela Dance — whose captivating performance of Sojourner Truth was met with uproarious applause.

The recitals were temporarily suspended midway through the presentation in the remembrance of Troy Davis via video tribute, who after 26 years in prison was executed by lethal injection the day before.

The death of Troy Davis influenced third-time participant Maurice Martin, who chose to relate the words of Mumia Abu-Jamal — who spoke as he sat on death row.

“I believe [my chosen speech] to be very timely,” Martin said. “Especially with the recent death of Troy Davis.”
Also participating were members from Teaching to Transgress, Visionary Feminists, Bringing Education and Activism Together (BEAT) and Veterans for Peace.

In attendance was City College student Tamara Estes, who also attended last year’s event.

“It was interesting,” Estes said. “It helped to expose our history and how it concerns us, [including] historical issues that are still occurring today.”