The Loras College Library was awarded a public programming grant through the Lift Every Voice initiative from the Library of America to promote why African American poetry matters.
“This award empowers our community to learn about the Black and African American heritage, resilience, and joy through poetry,” Sergio Perez (’13), director of the Center for Inclusion & Advocacy, said.
Lift Every Voice: Why African American Poetry Matters is a yearlong national public humanities initiative that engages participants in a multifaceted exploration of African American poetry, the perspectives it offers on American history and the on-going struggle for racial justice, and the universality of its imaginative response to the personal experiences of Black Americans over three centuries.
The Loras College is the only institution in Iowa to earn a grant through this effort for public programming with poets and scholars, to be presented from September 2020 through February 2021 and one of 49 libraries or institutions in 24 states in the nation.
Heidi Pettit, access services & special collections librarian, and Kristen Smith, research services librarian, were instrumental in securing the grant.
“As the only library in Iowa to receive this grant, it shows our students how important we feel it is that every voice has the opportunity to be heard,” Pettit said.
The first program hosted by Loras under the Lift Every Voice program will be a virtual poetry workshop featuring writer Kyla Jenee Lacey on September 18 at 6 p.m. The following night, Lacey will be featured in a slam poetry event beginning at 8 p.m.
Lift Every Voice is made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Emerson Collective and is presented in partnership with The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Other partners include the Poetry Foundation, the National Book Foundation, the Academy of American Poets, Poets House, Cave Canem, and the Center for African American Poetry & Poetics.