Words Without Violence

perry di virgilio

"Perry’s method of storytelling through poetry and spoken word provides an opportunity for his audience to be both captivated by [his] authenticity and compelled to reflect on their own ability to make our community a better place," says Kelly Wilt, Dicknson's violence-prevention coordinator. Photo by Matt Atwood '15.

Week Without Violence punctuated by alum’s poetic message

by Tony Moore

Perry “Vision” DiVirgilio ’00 returned to campus recently as part of Week Without Violence, and he brought his powerful spoken-word poetry with him.

“His work is raw and moving,” says Kelly Wilt, Dickinson’s violence-prevention coordinator. “It highlights the intersections of race, gender, class and privilege in a way that expands beyond the ability of any classroom lecture.”

Week Without Violence, which occurs the third week in October, is an initiative launched by the YWCA nearly 20 years ago, and each year it brings people together to raise awareness and take action against all forms of violence—domestic, sexual, economic, among others. Also on the week’s agenda was What’s Your Green Dot?, an event for Dickinson’s violence-prevention bystander-intervention initiative, which was held on Britton Plaza.

“The silence that surrounds issues of violence, especially more personal forms of violence, creates a climate where violence is able to continue to exist,” Wilt says. “Creating a strong and healthy community where violence isn’t tolerated necessitates a commitment from all of us.”

DiVirgilio’s appearance shined a light on the partnership between Dickinson, the YWCA of Cumberland and Perry counties and the greater community, and his words served as a clarion call for the cause.

“Perry’s performance helps send a powerful message that calls us all to check ourselves—our assumptions, our biases, our privilege,” Wilt says. “He encourages us to take a stand for ourselves and for each other.”

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Published October 24, 2014