An internationally-renowned poet takes center stage 8 p.m. today at the Eastern New Mexico University ballroom to kick off the college’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.
Gabriela Garcia Medina has received international acclaim and has traveled to Brazil, South Africa, Cuba, Switzerland and all over the U.S. to perform her poetry. This poet has read her verse at numerous festivals, including the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Festival at the Yale University Peabody Museum and the Empowering Womyn of Color Conference at the University of California Berkeley.
Devoted to celebrating the achievements of Hispanic Americans, Hispanic Heritage Month is held Sept. 15 to Oct. 16.
Jhordan Granger, the Associated Student Activities Board entertainment coordinator, was drawn to Medina’s credentials when thinking of booking her for an event at the university but became inspired as she further researched Medina.
“I got to listen to some of her stuff on her website and on YouTube. It was funny but it was also inspiring. It was just good,” said Granger.
Medina’s themes include being proud of one’s heritage, being comfortable in one’s own skin.
Granger prepared for the event months in advance, starting at the end of the last semester. Using suggestions from students and directors of ASAB, Granger looked up various performers on the Internet. If she liked the performers, and the price was right, she contacted their various agencies to check dates of availability.
At an ASAB meeting, students voted for their top three choices for potential performers. Out of those votes came a top five list upon which slam poetry and Medina stood first.
The fact the Medina will be performing poetry does not deter ASAB from booking her.
“We had slam poets come in a few years back and they were a big hit,” said Michael Neurauter, a member of ASAB. “I really enjoy spoken word artists and it seemed like we had a big turn out for them and we keep getting asked for them.”
Medina is the author of two books, “Ink-Scribing Oshun” and “In the Wake of Oya.”