Folio Social Justice Night
Ellie Sherry — Reporter
As November continues, so does social justice month at Southern. In following with the month’s theme, Folio hosted a Social Justice reading night.
The first person to speak at Social Justice night was Spanish major Gabriela Vázquez, a senior, who started her painting in January 2019. Her talent took off quickly, and she began to sell some of her works earning up to 500 dollars for one piece.
“It’s been a journey,” she said. “I have always loved art, and to draw or sketch, but I was really busy with sports and school so I never really had time for it. So this year I decided to focus on my passion, and that’s how this whole journey began.”
When discussing each piece, she went through and talked about what each one meant. The first painting was her depiction of vulnerability with a woman laying naked under a flower pot trying to hide herself. The second was a representation of every person having a universe inside them that makes them unique according to Vázquez.
“Art has given me the power to communicate my experiences,” she said. Sometimes I do paint artists, but the process of creating it is a totally different experience. So like, when I do art I zone out and it’s a great way to escape my reality and my worries. Sometimes this world can be really hard, and this is how I am able to escape it, and be with myself and express myself.”
English major Ren Berisha, a senior, read a five page short story, one that was slightly different because of the writing process it went through.
“When I first wrote it, it was such a very — and I don’t want to say wrong because I do know that’s how I felt at the time — but it was a very flawed and hidden sort of thinking that was just adding to my anxiety and making me feel worse,” he said. “I was using it as an excuse to be upset about something, but when I started to think about it more, I realized that there was a lot that I necessarily didn’t do anything wrong, but that I could have handled differently.”
Another artist who showed off their art at the event was English major Melissa Healey, a junior who writes a lot about her own personal experiences through fiction writing. However, at this event she chose to read a song, which was about her finally having a place to call home.
“I was inspired by the words and back stories that people were giving about their own vulnerability, family history and mental illness,” said Healy. “I really wanted an emotional experience and epiphany through the work that I chose to read, and I really wanted to illustrate what it means to me to actually have a home and how important yet not guaranteed having a home is.”