On Tuesday, The Bridge hosted the event for the first time at UNC in the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History. The event served as an opportunity for black and Latina students to perform. There were 15 performances throughout the event.
The Bridge is an online publication founded to celebrate black and Latina women at UNC and Duke University.
Duke sophomore Kristel Black helped organize the “Milk and Honey” night. She said she thinks it’s important for college campuses to hold these types of events.
“It’s important to celebrate diversity and people, and I don’t think black and Latina women always get that credit or appreciation for their art and their work,” Black said. “It’s important to show that appreciation because they’re putting this work in year-round and people deserve to hear it and see it. There aren’t really other spaces for it.”
UNC first-year Reana Johnson performed multiple poetry pieces at the event. She said she was glad to have the opportunity to display her work.
“I love to perform, so it was great to have the opportunity to come out and express myself,” Johnson said. “I even tried to step outside of my comfort zone with a spoken word piece.”
Johnson said it’s important to have these spaces because it allows women of color to be more comfortable.
“Knowing that the community can all come together, people can be inspired, I think that’s really important because sometimes you can get weighed down, but the way we can come together as a community is pretty great,” she said.
UNC first-year Debra Nyakundi said she hadn’t shared her work in front of a large audience since she was in middle school, but that didn’t stop her from performing a poem she wrote during an open mic opportunity.
“I had been talking about it with my friends, and it was just a spur-of-the-moment decision,” Nyakundi said. “I feel like it was important to have a safe space like this; I felt like I was completely supported.”
UNC senior Abigail Jaimes shared a poem inspired by her father’s experience coming to America from Mexico. She said her poem expressed the emotions she feels when hearing about how people mistreated her father.
“Seeing what my dad went through and hearing the stories that he told me, it made me really angry,” Jaimes said. “He went through a lot of things that I feel he shouldn’t have to and nobody should have to.”
Black said she looks forward to coordinating more events encouraging underrepresented groups to express themselves.
“Our goal is to continue the celebration of the art and beauty of black and Latina women and to inspire them to continue their work,” Black said.
In addition to performances by individual students, Harmonyx, a UNC a cappella group, and Zankiliwa Dance Troupe, a UNC African dance group, made appearances.