Omekongo with members of STAND-UNC
On March 31st, STAND-UNC hosted “Voices Against Violence” with Omekongo Dibinga and several opening performers. Student musician Priscilla Townsend opened the event and was followed by a student African dance group called Zankiliwa. To transition into Omekongo’s performance, two students performed their original spoken word pieces. CJ Suitt from the Sacrificial Poets shared a piece including the theme of identity with African heritage and one of STAND UNC’s own board members, Elizabeth Atwell, performed a piece addressing sexual violence around the globe and in DRC. The UNC chapter was thrilled to be joined by STAND chapters from Durham Academy, Apex High School and Elon Univerity.
In between performances of his poetry, Omkeongo explained pieces of Congolese history and urged activism and involvement. Through sharing his personal perspectives on events in DRC, Omekongo brought a lot of emotion into the event. He stressed not just education and involvement on the part of college students but also the need for understanding and respect of the Congolese people. The volume and the emotional levels ricocheted between whispering soft verses filled with tension and shouted phrases aimed at comfortable by-standers trying to make people take action. By the end of the event, Omekongo had the audience standing, repeating his inspiring words about education oneself and refusing to let atrocities happen on our watch.
The day before the event, one of our board members majoring in journalism conducted an interview with Omekongo. When asked about his collaboration with STAND, he responded “I have been really fortunate to work with you all, because just seeing the work you do has given me a lot of life and motivation because I see so many young people involved in a movement”. He continued “ I didn’t event know that there were this many people that really cared.”
Submitted by STAND-UNC