“We’re always looking for a way to get more youth involved,” said Susan Gore, co-chair of the Circle of Friends and liaison to the LGBTQ Resource Center at the library. “I noticed a lot of kids were doing open mic nights, so we brought the idea to the board and they agreed it was a good idea.”
Gore said once the event had been agreed on, they had to find someone to organize it. They turned to Sam Obeid, a local poet, emcee and self-described “queer activist,” according to Obeid’s website. “Sam is young, experienced and has done a lot of open mics,” said Gore.
Obeid cheered on poets as they walked up to the mic, and congratulated them with applause and excited energy as they left the stage. “She was instrumental in how we would time people and how the show was organized,” said Gore.
Sara Hack, library employee worked the event and loved having Obeid emceeing the show. “The fact that they had an Indian Muslim/Hindu do the event and bring a little bit of the side of LGBTQ that we rarely see is amazing,” said Hack. “I admired her.”
Overall, the event brought people together with genuine and thoughtful participation. About thirty people attended the event, which was the first open mic night at the Gulfport Public library.
“There were so much authenticity. Everybody who spoke wasn’t a published poet, but their work was heartfelt and deeply moving,” said Gore.
“Some of the poetry was really well written and there were some extremely deep thoughts,” said Hack. “We have some really talented people in Gulfport.”
The open mic night was just one of many scheduled events the Gulfport Library hosted to celebrate and highlight Gay Pride during the month of June.
“Everybody comes and enjoys the art exhibit. Everyone can come to the open mic night. There’s just a lot of energy,” said Gore, speaking on the library’s inclusiveness.
“It’s a role model to what libraries should be,” said Hack. “Makes it the hub for free thought.”