by Julayne Lee
Several years ago I attended a conference in Minnesota with overseas adopted Koreans. One of the evening events was a spoken word and poetry showcase featuring only adopted Korean artists. I had been to several poetry readings but this was the first one where our perspectives and experiences were centered. My friend who had gone to poetry readings with me leaned over and said, “This is for us.” It was special, unique and amplified our voices and lives.
I moved to Los Angeles a few years ago and participated in Writ Large Press’ first #90for90. When I heard they would host #90X90LA again in 2017, I knew I wanted to curate an event, and I wanted it to center adopted people of color. On a very hot Saturday afternoon in September, we gathered at Cielo gallery, and I hosted Our Voices: A Reading & Discussion with Adoptees of Color. We believe it to be the first ever poetry reading by adopted POC in Los Angeles, which featured Lynne Thompson, Dr. Michael Datcher and Yun-Sook Navarre. I had let the poets know they could read anything adoption related or not but the majority of what they chose to share was about adoption. It was a powerful experience for the poets and the audience, some of whom identify as adopted POC. For some, it was their first time being in an adoptee-centered environment. Continue reading