Official NYC Sonia Sanchez 80th Birthday Celebration!

Sonia SanchezThe Medgar Evers College Center for Black Literature, AKILA WORKSONGS, African Voices Magazine, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and Arts + Crafts announce an 80th birthday party for the world-renowned poet, humanitarian, scholar and activist Sonia Sanchez.  A coalition of literary, culturaland media organizations (all headquartered in New York City), invites the public to Celebrate Sonia’s special event to be held at Bedford Hall on Friday, September 19, 2014, at 6:00 p.m. The venue is located at 1177 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11216 (between Madison Street and Jefferson Avenue in Bedford Stuyvesant).   Admission is $35 and tickets will be sold online ( and at the door. The public is encouraged to purchase tickets early. Space is limited. For general information, call (718) 804-8882 or (718) 756-8501.  Media inquiries are directed to or (718) 756-8501.

Features and Confirmed Special Guests

With special guests coming in from all parts of the country, Celebrate Sonia! promises to be a memorable event. The presenters seek to honor Sanchez’s love for rejoicing and creating memories, as well as her passion for engaging inter-generationally. When invited to attend or perform, some of today’s most respected artists agreed without hesitation, including Ursula Rucker (Philadelphia) and Jessica Care Moore (Detroit). Haki Madhubuti of Third World Press (Chicago) will attend to give remarks about his longtime friend, as well. DJ Reborn (New York) will be the resident DJ for the evening to ensure plenty of dancing and asha bandele will host. The public will receive gift bags and will be able to purchase food, beverages and drinks, as well as a souvenir journal. Attendees must be 21 years or older.

Presenters, Sponsors, and Supporters

The Celebrate Sonia birthday party in New York City is presented, sponsored and supported by a collective of Sanchez’s friends, colleagues and admirers who have either worked closely with her over the years or who appreciate the value and timeless significance of her work. The co-presenters are Brenda M. Greene, Clarence V. Reynolds and Maeshay K. Lewis of the Center for Black Literature, Medgar Evers College, CUNY (Brooklyn); April R. Silver of AKILA WORKSONGS (Brooklyn); Carolyn A. Butts of African Voices Magazine (Brooklyn); Khalil G. Muhammad and Clarisse Rosaz Shariyf of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (Harlem), and Tyren Allen of Vice Lounge (Brooklyn).

The Friends of Sonia sponsors include (in alphabetical order): asha bandele; Dr. Ron Daniels and Institute of the Black World 21st Century; Indira Etwaroo; Alexander and Joanne Gabbin; Nikki Giovanni; Marita Golden; Woodie King Jr.; Talib Kweli; Haki Madhubuti of Third World Press; Terry McMillian; Jessica Care Moore; Francisco Mora; Toni Morrison; Jill Newman of Jill Newman Productions; Eugene Redmond; Ursula Rucker and Marcia White.

Host Committee supporters are Monifa and Lumumba Bandele; Mo Beasley; Toni Blackman; JLove Calderon; NY State Assembly Member Karim Camara; Cave Canem; Center for Law and Social Justice, Medgar Evers College, CUNY; Staceyann Chin; Frenchie Davis; Sabrina Gordon; Farah Jasmine Griffin; Obery M. Hendricks, Jr.; Marc Lamont Hill; Byron Hurt; Tyehimba Jess; Jacqueline Johnson; Patricia Spears Jones; Saddi Khali; Tulani Kinard; Tony Medina; Tony Mitchelson and Layding Kaliba (The Linyak Project); Stacey Muhammad; T. Rasul Murray; National Conference of Artists New York; Shaun Neblett; Abiobun Oyewole; Marcia Pendelton; Willie Perdomo; Liza Jessie Peterson; Kevin Powell; Voza Rivers, New Heritage Theatre Group; Thysha M. Shabazz; Danny Simmons; Ekere Tallie; Cheo Tyehimba Taylor; Imani Uzuri, Randy Weston and Ted Wilson.

About Sonia Sanchez

Poet, playwright, mother, scholar, lecturer and peace activist, Sonia Sanchez is a renowned force of nature respected in literary and activist communities all over the world and by people of all races, identities, ages and backgrounds.  In 2011, Sanchez was selected as the first poet laureate of Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter identified her as “the longtime conscience of the city.”

Sanchez is the author of more than 20 books, has lectured internationally at more than 500 colleges and universities, and has been awarded countless awards and honors, including the 1985 American Book Award for Homegirls and Handgrenades. She is also the Poetry Society of America’s 2001 Robert Frost Medalist. She was the first Presidential Fellow at Temple University and she held the Laura Carnell Chair in English at the university.

Born in Alabama on September 9, 1934, the soon-to-be octogenarian came of age in New York

City during the Black Arts and Black Power Movements of the 1960s and ’70s. Currently based in Philadelphia, the former Harlemite is regarded as the Godmother of the Black Arts Movement. The late Maya Angelou heralded her as “a lion in literature’s forest.” Today’s poets, writers, hip-hop artists, grassroots activists, and public servants alike point to her work as their guiding light. “She opened the door for everything we do,” says hip-hop artist Talib Kweli.

Members of the working press are welcome to attend and must confirm no later than September 12, 2014 to AKILA WORKSONGS at or by calling (718) 756-8501. Additional media materials (full biography, images, bibliography, etc.) are available upon request.

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About Medgar Evers College

Located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Medgar Evers College is a growing institution offering both Associate and Baccalaureate degrees.  The nearly 7,000-member student body is primarily comprised of those who are the first in their families to attend college.  A senior college within The City University of New York (CUNY) system, Medgar Evers College was established in 1970 with a mandate to meet the educational and social needs of the Central Brooklyn community.  With a commitment to students who desire a sound academic foundation as well as an opportunity for personal development, Medgar Evers College seeks to provide high-quality, professional, career-oriented undergraduate degree programs in the context of a liberal arts education.  For more information, visit