When Buffalo State 2009 alumna and adjunct theater professor Eve Everette read her poetry aloud in Warren Enters Theatre as part of the 2012 Anne Frank Project, she said she found her own courage to act.
Although she has written poetry for years and works as an actor and educator, until this conference she had never shared her poetry in public.
"It's much more personal," she said during the question-and-answer session following the reading she performed with Lewis Sepulveda, a May 2012 Buffalo State graduate. "I wanted to share that experience of taking action, the words I believe in, and give them to you."
In a heartfelt presentation titled "Courage to Act," Everette and Sepulveda performed an hour’s worth of intertwined poetry, each poem reflecting a different aspect of this year’s Anne Frank conference theme "Embracing Responsibility."
They broke the poems down into themed segments, such as Responsibility to Create, Responsibility to Reflect, Responsibility for Growth, and Responsibility to the Moment.
Since they both traveled to Rwanda with Buffalo State theater students and theater professor Drew Kahn last January, a few poems stemmed from that experience, but others focused on parts of life almost anyone could relate to—waking up angry, grieving a death, and loving someone from afar. One of Sepulveda’s most powerful poems, "Moment of Impact," puts the importance of living in the moment in stark perspective through the story of a driver whose mind wandered until he crashed into a car killing a woman and her two young children.
Sepulveda, who earned a bachelor’s degree in public communication and theater, also said this was his first time to perform his poetry.
"It is nice to have the opportunity to speak, rather than have to sing and dance," said Sepulveda with a laugh. He added that he’s realizing the power of theater and how the craft can be used as activism, which was a point of the Rwandan trip and is a goal of the Anne Frank Project, too.
Everette told the audience she hoped they would take inspiration from their presentation, "to have the courage to act, (to address) whatever challenges you have in your own life."