MLK Celebration – Poetry & performances

Jan 14, 2024 4:00PM—6:00PM


40 Mechanic St Windsor CT 06095

Event Contact Human Relations Commission/ Castella Copeland-Smith | Email

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Join the Windsor Human Relations Commission and the Windsor Art Center for poetry and performances during their Annual MLK Celebration.

Date: Sunday, January 14, 2024 4pm-6pm

Location: Windsor Art Center 40 Mechanic Street Windsor, CT 06095

The public is welcome to join this free event and participate in the open mic section of the program. Attendees can sign up to participate in the open mic at the beginning of the event. Light snacks and refreshments will be served. This program will be recorded and publicly available through WIN TV.

Introducing our Key Note speaker, Ryan Parker:

Ryan Parker’s mission is to disrupt oppressive legacy embedded in educational spaces and to influence and empower educators and youth to also engage in the disruption.  

Parker’s 20 year career in teaching has been dedicated towards challenging United States education norms, reimagining what school looks, sounds and feels like through a justice lens and applying that reimagination to his own pedagogy while influencing and supporting other educators in doing the same.

A youth empowerment activist and Manchester, CT school district Race & Equity Coordinator who presents regularly at education conferences and various schools and universities abroad, Parker’s work focuses on race in education, the power of hip hop pedagogy and the necessity of centering Black and Brown youth amplifying their lived experiences, voices and brilliance! As the 2019-2023 Poet Laureate of Manchester, CT and the coach of the Manchester-based youth spoken word poetry slam team PaperVoices, Parker’s work as a poet, educator and activist extends outside of the walls of his school building. 

In addition to his work as an educator, Parker is a hip hop artist/poet, author, husband, father, brother, mama’s boy, chocolate chip cookie lover and was named as the 2020 Peace Hero of Connecticut and 2022 CT Community Kindness Hero. 

Parker’s most recent book and collection of poems are centered on the necessary narrative of Black Joy and excellence that co-exists with the trauma narrative that so often dominates the focus in relation to Black minds and bodies.

Introducing our Host, Miss Versatile:

Brittana VersatilePoetiq Tatum was born at Hartford Hospital. She was raised for nine years in Simsbury, CT and ten years in Avon, CT. She played basketball throughout high school with aspirations of playing in college. She graduated from Avon High School in 2005. In the fall of 2005 she attended the University of Hartford as a marketing major. She put away her basketball sneakers and picked up a pen to become a Poet. She graduated from UHART with a Business Administration degree in May of 2009. 

She has been performing Spoken Word for 15 years and teaching Spoken Word for 12 years. She works for Charter Oak Cultural Center and Arts for Learning Connecticut. She taught Civic Engagement at Two Rivers Middle School to 35 (6th, 7th, and 8th graders) for her first teaching experience. 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. She has taught Spoken Word throughout CT (New Haven, Windham, East Hartford, and Norwich to name a few towns). She was the Spoken Word teacher at The Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts (Colt Campus) in 2014-2015. She performed in front of 20,000 people at The Greater Hartford Jazz Festival in 2019 and 2021. She hosted the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival in 2019. Her stage name is VersatilePoetiq due to her universal appeal and unique mix of Spoken Word and Rap. She has all her students call her Ms. Versatile.