ISCORE a success, organizers say

Tim Paluch

Students participating in the Iowa State Conference on Race and Ethnicity were treated to a spoken word performance Friday night.More than 140 people filled the Great Hall of the Memorial Union Friday night to see “I Was Born with Two Tongues,” a PanAsian spoken word group. Poet and author Anthony Vigil also performed several of his pieces.The event was part of ISCORE, a day-long event aimed at promoting racial equity on the ISU campus.Before beginning, performers asked the audience to move their chairs closer to the stage for a more intimate atmosphere. What followed was a fast-paced, hour-and-a-half-long joint-performance by Vigil and “I Was Born with Two Tongues” featuring rhyming, rapping, role playing and singing about racism, rape, the U.S. prison system, stereotypes and teaching.During one performance, a tribute to rape victims, Anida of “I Was Born with Two Tongues” passionately spoke to the crowd.”I refuse to forget her,” she said. “She is the pain that wants my pity, a story that needs to be heard. She is fury, she is fire, she is women.”Vigil also screamed in one piece, “And what color is the skin of our value?”In another piece, he spoke out against capital punishment and the prison system.”Never kill a man who is about to kill himself,” Vigil said.All three members of “I Was Born with Two Tongues” gathered on-stage to perform a piece entitled, “Excuse me America.” The piece addressed a question the members said they are always asked, “Why are you so angry?””Excuse me America, I’ve tried to make this my home, but you never wanted me here,” the group said. “Excuse you America … why don’t you stop killing me.”Keren Zuniga, ISCORE student committee member, said the day was an overwhelming success.”We were expecting between 300 and 350 people, and all the workshops were full,” said Zuniga, graduate student in human development and family studies. “I think it definitely gave a more diverse perspective than last year, and that brought in more people.”She said the conference, which may become a model for other universities, is something which needed to be done at Iowa State.”The focus was to educate and to develop a sensitivity to someone different than your own,” Zuniga said. “And I think it did that.”