By Samantha Holm | Arts & Culture Editor
As a sophomore, Kendra Guttridge stood backstage with her fellow poet scholars, nervously awaiting her turn to recite her monologue about her understanding of faith. To ease their nerves, the band of poets encouraged one another and did the hokeypokey to make each other laugh. Now, as a junior, Guttridge fondly recalls that memory and believes it’s a testament to the unique community-building element of Diversity Monologues.
“It was just a really sweet moment of courage gathered together,” she said.
Guttridge noted how Diversity Monologues serve the function of uniting the Whitworth community as well. “I think it really lifts and empowers the poet scholars,” she said. “It’s also just so pure that the topic is always going to lead to an individual to talk about really raw and personal experiences. That vulnerability is rarely found on such a large scale.”
Guttridge used her experience from sharing her monologue to assist this year’s potential poet scholars in the writing process. She has served as a member of the planning committee for Diversity Monologues, giving students advice at the writing workshops during February and March.
Director for Student Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (SDEI) Ayaka Dohi spoke to the rationale behind the theme of justice. “The topic of justice was chosen in light of national dialogue and cultural climate,” she said. “SDEI chose the theme of justice as an invitation to reflect on what justice means to our community members individually and collectively, in traditional and creative ways.”
Sharing one’s interpretation of justice is equally daunting as it is transformative for poet scholars. According to Diversity Monologues planning committee member Hen Fookes, “For each iteration of Diversity Monologues I’ve attended or participated in, I have grown in understanding the endless dimensions of people with whom I share a world.”
The deadline to submit a monologue for consideration is Monday, March 28 by 5 p.m. On April 28, at 7:15 p.m., consenting poet scholars will perform in Cowles Auditorium. Poet scholars can also opt to publish their monologue in a publication by SDEI. To learn more information, visit the SDEI website.
To anyone considering a monologue, Guttridge said, “I absolutely encourage you. I had wanted to write my monologue for so long, and then I ended up writing it just the week before the deadline,” she said. “So, there’s definitely always time and everyone’s experience is valuable.”