Black Voices Matter

A Collaboration between the Wick Poetry Center, the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and the Department of Pan-African Studies at Kent State University.


Model Poem

This is Not a Small Voice

by Sonia Sanchez
from Wounded in the House of a Friend
(Beacon Press)

This is not a small voice
you hear               this is a large
voice coming out of these cities.
This is the voice of LaTanya.
Kadesha. Shaniqua. This
is the voice of Antoine.
Darryl. Shaquille.
Running over waters
navigating the hallways
of our schools spilling out
on the corners of our cities and
no epitaphs spill out of their river mouths.

This is not a small love
you hear               this is a large
love, a passion for kissing learning
on its face.
This is a love that crowns the feet with hands
that nourishes, conceives, feels the water sails
mends the children,
folds them inside our history where they
toast more than the flesh
where they suck the bones of the alphabet
and spit out closed vowels.
This is a love colored with iron and lace.
This is a love initialed Black Genius.

This is not a small voice
you hear.


A community poem in support of racial justice at Kent State University and around the globe. As an expression of solidarity for the Black Lives Matter social movement against police brutality and racially motivated violence against black people, we invite people from around the world to contribute a line or stanza in response to poet and activist Sonia Sanchez’ poem, “This is Not a Small Voice.” You don’t need to have any previous writing experience to participate. Simply select one or more of the prompts below to share your voice.

Contribute to the
Community Poem

Contribute to the community poem by following the steps below.

View the Community

To see your own contribution and the voices of others, visit the link below.

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Join one of the digital workshops on the Traveling Stanzas Events website. All workshops are free and open to all.


Click each image to read its caption. 

Mwatabu Okantah seated next to Nikki Giovani. Old Ritche Hall, 1975
Sonia Sanchez in the old Ritchie Hall, 1970s
Dr. Amoaba Gooden & Sonia Sanchez, 2019
Halim El Dabh holding up a framed poem written by Mwatabu Okantah for his 85th Birthday Gala
Sonia Sanchez at the old Ritchie Hall, 1970s
Mwatabu Okantah with Nikki Giovani at old Ritchie, 1975
Althea Romeo Mark, former instructor of the Black Writer's Workshop
Mwatabu Okantah with Angela Davis, 1976-77
Kenyette Adrine Robinson with Chinua Achebe in old Ritchie Hall, 1990s
Amiri Baraka speaking at Oscar Ritchie Hall May 10, 1975 Photo by E. Timothy Moore

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