Juneteenth Spoken Word Poetry
Saturday • June 17, 2023 • 5:00pm-7:00pm
This event is co-sponsored by the Windsor Art Center and the Windsor Human Relations Commission as part of their Juneteenth celebration in honor of the late Judge Kevin Washington. Ms. Versatile Poetiq will be returning as dynamic Master of Ceremonies. You’re welcome just to listen to others’ words or also to speak your own. All are welcome.
Join us at the Windsor Art Center for this event co-sponsored by the Windsor Art Center and Windsor Human Relations Commission, as we celebrate Juneteenth in honor of the late Judge Kevin Washington. We are honored to announce the return of the dynamic Ms. Versatile Poetiq as our Master of Ceremonies. You’re invited to listen to the powerful words of others or share your own during this event.
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, has been celebrated by African Americans for over 150 years. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863, it wasn’t until June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger announced in Galveston, Texas, that all enslaved people were officially freed after the end of the war. In recognition of this historic day, President Biden signed into law the designation of June 19 as a federal holiday to be celebrated by all Americans.
Spoken word poetry, deeply rooted in African American tradition, is a natural fit for Windsor’s Juneteenth celebrations. As the Poetry Foundation describes, spoken word has its origins in oral traditions and performance. It encompasses elements of rap, hip-hop, storytelling, theater, and various music genres such as jazz, rock, blues, and folk. Characterized by rhyme, repetition, improvisation, and wordplay, spoken word poems often tackle issues of social justice, politics, race, and community. Similar to slam poetry, spoken word utilizes music, sound, dance, and other forms of performance to connect with audiences.
Co-sponsored by the Windsor Art Center and the Town of Windsor Human Relations Commission, this year’s Spoken Word event is a highlight of Windsor’s annual Juneteenth Celebration, this year dedicated to the memory of federal Judge Kevin C. Washington, who passed away on March 27, 2023. We are thrilled to have the dynamic Ms. Versatile Poetiq returning as our Master of Ceremonies. We are also honored to welcome the amazing impromptu performer and preacher, Rev. Monique Sanders, as our guest speaker. We invite you to immerse yourself in this extraordinary spoken word experience that combines entertainment and depth.
Rev. Monique Sanders is a woman of powerful and poignant words that have touched the hearts of many throughout her life. Originally from South Bend, Indiana, she moved to Windsor in first grade and is a proud product of Windsor Public Schools. As a member of Archer Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church for over 35 years, she has been actively involved in ministry. In 2017, she openly accepted her calling to the preaching ministry and delivered her trial sermon on December 4th. She became ordained on July 17, 2021.
Rev. Mo’s passion for storytelling and spoken word developed at a young age, nurtured through drama productions and Christian Education programs within her church. She has captivated the Windsor community with countless impromptu vignettes during Archer Memorial’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebrations. In 2009, she performed at the Windsor Art Center alongside Alfred Narcisse, who impersonated Sandy Archer, the church’s namesake.
In addition to her ministry at Archer Memorial, Rev. Monique works as a Behavior Tech, serving fifth and sixth-grade scholars at Bennet Academy in Manchester. Her scholars affectionately call her Aunty Mo or Aunty Rev. She resides in Windsor with her mother, Iva Allison, lovingly referred to as “Mothership,” and cherishes her close relationship with her two sisters. Watching her nephews and niece grow and thrive brings her immense joy. Family and faith are of utmost importance to Rev. Monique Sanders.
Brittana VersatilePoetiq Tatum was born at Hartford Hospital and spent nine years in Simsbury, CT, followed by ten years in Avon, CT. While in high school, she played basketball with aspirations of playing in college. However, she discovered her passion for poetry and became a poet. She graduated from Avon High School in 2005 and pursued a marketing major at the University of Hartford starting in the fall of 2005. She set aside her basketball sneakers and picked up a pen to become a poet. In May 2009, she graduated from UHART with a degree in Business Administration.
For the past 15 years, Ms. VersatilePoetiq has been captivating audiences with her spoken word performances and sharing her expertise by teaching spoken word for 12 years. She is associated with Charter Oak Cultural Center and Arts for Learning Connecticut. Her teaching experience includes working with 6th, 7th, and 8th graders at Two Rivers Middle School, where she taught Civic Engagement. She has also taught at Covenant Prep, Montessori Magnet School, Trinity Academy, YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, Milner Elementary, SANDS School, and Albert E. Burr School in Hartford, CT. Her reach extends across various towns in Connecticut, including New Haven, Windham, East Hartford, and Norwich. In the 2014-2015 academic year, she served as the Spoken Word teacher at The Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts (Colt Campus). Notably, she has performed in front of 20,000 people at The Greater Hartford Jazz Festival in 2019 and 2021. Additionally, she hosted the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival in 2019. Due to her universal appeal and unique blend of Spoken Word and Rap, she goes by the stage name Versatile Poetiq and encourages her students to address her as Ms. Versatile.