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Acclaimed Activist-Performers Bring Their Talents to the Susquehanna Stage

Published on March 12, 2014

The acclaimed artists Climbing PoeTree will give a free, public performance at 7 p.m. March 26 at Susquehanna University’s Isaacs Auditorium in Seibert Hall. This is the third annual public event organized by the university’s Diversity Studies Program, and is a departure from the usual public-lecture format.Climbing PoeTree

The duo of Alixa Garcia and Naima Penniman combine spoken word, hip-hop and award-winning multimedia theater to explore issues of diversity, and social, environmental, racial and sexual justice. During performances, Garcia and Penniman weave together their voices to tell powerful stories of love and liberation; state and personal violence; social, environmental, racial and sexual justice; women’s empowerment; and human transcendence.

Climbing PoeTree will present a special version of their latest production “Hurricane Season: The Hidden Messages in Water.” The show interweaves spoken-word poetry, shadow art, dance, film and animation to examine the “unnatural disasters facing humanity on a daily basis” through the lens of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. “Hurricane Season” was unveiled during a nationwide eco-tour marking the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and obliterating the boundaries between performance and activism. The production was selected for a monthlong run at the world-renowned National Black Theater in Harlem, and won the award for best director from the Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival.

Since 2010, Climbing PoeTree has worked with a dynamic team of educators to translate “Hurricane Season” into a multimedia social justice curriculum. The curriculum is currently being piloted at Susquehanna University by Angelique Nixon, assistant professor of English, in her Writing and Thinking courses focusing on social and environmental justice; and at Global Citizenship Experience, a pioneering high school in Chicago. It will soon be available in learning environments nationwide.

Climbing PoeTree has presented 15 self-organized tours over the last 10 years. The duo has brought their soul-stirring performances to more than 70 cities across the United States and numerous countries including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Mexico and Cuba. They have been featured alongside visionary leaders and artists such as Alicia Keys, Angela Davis, Sonia Sanchez, Danny Glover, Joanna Macy and The Last Poets.

“Hurricane Season: The Hidden Messages in Water” is sponsored by the Diversity Studies Program, the Department of English & Creative Writing, the Department of Sociology & Anthropology, the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Department of Political Science, the Jewish Studies Program, the Center for Diversity and Social Justice, and the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer. The event is part of Susquehanna University’s “Let’s Talk” Diversity Series, a series of events addressing diversity, equality and social justice issues.

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