March 22, 2018

Community News

January 8, 2018

From the Office of Wanda Sabir

3 January 2018 

Oakland Public Library, West Oakland Branch                                                           
1801 Adeline Street, Oakland, CA 94607


Dear Poets, Writers, Artists, Performers, and Community Members,

The West Oakland Branch Library, in coordination with Ms. Wanda Sabir, college professor, long-term library supporter, and founder of this event, invite you to the 28th ANNUAL AFRICAN AMERICAN CELEBRATION THROUGH POETRY. This program will take place from 1 pm – 4 pm on Saturday, February 3, 2018 in the West Oakland Branch Library’s Multi-Purpose Room.  In the tradition of this event, community members of all ages are invited to participate by reading poetry, performing, dancing or/and displaying works of art.  Artwork displayed by local artists always adds an important, interesting and colorful element to this celebration.  

We especially encourage all hidden and “closeted” poets who have not read in public before to come and read.  Often such writings can be among the most moving works shared.  

Although we welcome all themes, this year we encourage writers and artists to consider our overall theme: Resilience represented by the Adinkra symbol, Aya or the fern which is thesymbol of endurance and resourcefulness. The fern is a hardy plant that can grow in difficult places. "An individual who wears this symbol suggests that he has endured many adversities and outlasted much difficulty" (Willis, The Adinkra Dictionary).

Many poets have graced our stage over the years, some now adults and in college, and others now parents with children of their own. By continuing this annual poetry program, we honor eloquent poets of the past, such as Lee Williams, who joined the ancestors, January 1 last year, Arnold White, Joy Holland, Kamau Seitu, and many others who remain vivid in our memories. Our participants have ranged in age from 8 to 80, including published writers, award-winning authors and brand new poets reading their work in public for the first time.  Music, dance and costumes have enhanced past performances as each participant shares her or his unique style.  We also have poets performing in ensemble.

If you’re interested in being featured in this program, please give us a call and sign up byFriday, January 26. The library phone number is (510) 238-7352. You will also be asked to participate in a rehearsal on Saturday, January 27, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the West Oakland Branch Library – 1801 Adeline Street (across the street from DeFremery Park a.k.a. Lil’ Bobby Hutton Park).  The library is near the AC Transit bus line, which stops at the corner of 18th and Adeline Street, and which is 15 blocks from the City Center BART station.  For further information, please call the library at: (510) 238-7352 or leave a message for Ms. Sabir at 510-255-5579 or

This event is free to all, and includes refreshments donated by many local vendors.  If you can help us with set-up of chairs or refreshments or if you can volunteer for just 2 hours on the day of the event, we’d certainly appreciate the assistance.  Again, please give us a call. We’d also be happy to have the event broadcast on one of the local TV stations, if someone from the community knows a TV station that would be interested in offering this service. Please let us know. 

As mentioned, this event takes place in the Multi-Purpose Room inside the building, across the hall from the library. This room is wheelchair accessible. Accommodations can also be made for the hearing impaired, but please make advance arrangements with us by calling us no later than Friday, Jan. 19, if you will be requesting ASL assistance.

Thank you. We look forward to your participation!



Ms. Wanda Sabir
Founder, Community Organizer (510) 255-5579

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