When Sonia Sanchez, renowned poet and activist request your presence, you show up, knowing the time will be well spent. When the occasion is her 75th birthday and it falls on a date as auspicious as September 9, 2009 you come, ready to celebrate.
A Harlem native, Sanchez raised twins to manhood in a spacious house in Philadelphia enlivened by art, books and a backyard garden. On Saturday, September 12, when the gathering was actually held, friends, comrades and family came from as far as California and St. Croix, Virgin Islands. The multi-generational assembly, of course, was a reunion of people of shared experiences as well as an opportunity for young people to sit at the feet of veteran cultural workers and artists such as Amiri and Amina Baraka, John Edgar Wideman, Camille Cosby and many more. A chorus of conversation took place about everything from present day issues such as health reform to the Black Arts Movement of the 1970s from the backyard garden to the staircase at the center of the house.
How refreshing it was to see people attending an occasion to commune, reflect and show gratitude to a woman who has been so prolific, yet remains an active and vital artist and agent for social change.
Works by Sonia Sanchez
Like the Singing Coming off the Drums
Does Your House Have Lions?
Wounded in the House of a Friend
A Sound Investment
I’ve Been a Woman
Under a Soprano Sky
Homegirls and Handgrenades
We is a Badddd People
By Malaika Adero
Art from Better Than One, By D. Tisdale