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Banned book reading provides open microphone for everyone

By Miguel Detillier
Volunteer State Community College hosted an open-mic reading to celebrate Banned Books Week at the Steinhauer-Rogan-Black Amphitheater on Sept. 27.
The open-mic reading lasted from 12:45-2:15 p.m. and was hosted by the Thigpen Library and Sigma Kappa Delta (SKD), and light refreshments and snacks were provided by the Office of Student Life and Diversity.
Many students, faculty and staff were offered to participate in this event by reading through a paragraph from books that have been banned in schools like “Maus,” “Catch-22,” “The Great Gatsby,” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” in this open-mic reading.
This open-mic reading on Banned Books Week started off with Gaynell Payne, President of Sigma Kappa Delta (SKD), who read excerpts from Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and Leslie LaChance, Associate Professor of English, who read through the opening passage of Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451.”
Laura McClister, Instructor of English, read through excerpts from Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” and April Young, Associate Professor of English, read through the first two sections of Norman Mailer’s “The Naked and the Dead.”
Also during this open-mic reading, Sarah Crotzer, Instructor of English, read through passages from L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” freshman Kaitlyn Lee read through excerpts from J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and Cindy Chanin, Associate Professor of English, read through excerpts from Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are.”
And also during this open-mic reading, freshman Jasmine Washington read through passages of Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games,” and sophomore Rhonda Williams-Meneese read from excerpts of Walter Dean Meyers’ “Fallen Angels.”
And finally Kelly Ormsby, Assistant Professor of English, read through passages from Jeannette Walls’ “The Glass Castle,” and sophomore Maggie Colvin read from excerpts of Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree” to close this open-mic reading celebrating Banned Books Week.
“I think that the open-mic reading on Banned Books Week was a huge success for us with over 70 people attending this event including students, faculty and staff,” said Sarah Smith, Director of Library Services and Learning Resources. “And I was really happy to see both the students and faculty to read their chosen titles at this open-mic reading.”
“I was definitely pleased to see so many students come out to listen in this open-mic event on Banned Books Week, and I am also glad to see them participate as readers in this event,” said LaChance.
“I think that the open-mic reading on Banned Books Week was a great opportunity for students, faculty and staff to promote awareness for them to celebrate free speech and also celebrate the power of the written word,” said Young.
“I believe that the First Amendment is something that we all take for granted, and I also believe that events like the open-mic event on Banned Books Week helps raise awareness that we have to protect on free speech and also on the freedom to publish books,” said LaChance.

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