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Wednesday, September 29, 2021 at 3:00 PM | By Jordanne Alexander

Building Rededication

Welcome back to The Seed!

This past Friday, JMU held a building rededication event, changing the names of three infamous buildings that sit on main campus right in front of the quad. These buildings hold significant value to the rich history of JMU, but the renaming of the buildings is a perfect example of how we as a university, community, and country are continuing to push the pen forward, making positive change in areas that are rooted in injustice and inequality.

Our very own Dr. Joanne Gabbin, Furious Flower founder, and Executive Director, who has served over 35 years here at JMU, was honored, as one of the buildings has now been renamed Gabbin Hall after her and her husband, Dr. Alexander L. Gabbin, who has also been guiding students and faculty for over 35 years. They both have done so much on the campus of JMU, in their community, and around the world. I personally have been getting to know Dr. Gabbin through my Furious Flower experience, and I can say that it's really an inspiration to be in her presence and learn from her not only as a poet, but as a young Black woman who is trying to make her mark here on campus and in the world. The work that she has done and continues to do on a daily basis makes me feel like I deserve a place on this campus, I can take up space in areas that I see less of myself, and I can shine just as bright as everyone else.

I was one of the many supporters who got to watch President Alger and others speak about the Gabbins and to really hear the impact that they have had on the students and faculty here at JMU. In the greater scheme of things, it's even better to fully understand the impact that Black people have had on this campus. I’ve been able to hear different stories from Dr. Gabbin, and others about how they came across instances, big and small, of aggression and how they continued to speak up, speak out, and pave the way for everyone else who followed in their footsteps. As a Black student, I’m not sure where we’d be without these great examples of love and light in a world still shadowed in darkness.

Congratulations again, Drs. Joanne and Alexander Gabbin! We are so proud of you and thank you both for everything you have done on campus and outside of the purple mountains that encompass it. Your work and dedication will never be forgotten, as students like me continue to walk into these newly renamed buildings, knowing that we too belong at JMU, and are inspired to move in a direction that will create a more diverse, compassionate, and just campus and world.

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Jordanne Alexander is a senior Computer Science major and African, African American, and Diaspora Studies minor. She is the inaugural Carmen R. Gillespie Fellow at Furious Flower Poetry Center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021 at 12:00 PM | By Jordanne Alexander

Welcome to The Seed!

Hey guys! Welcome to The Seed! So glad to have you here. I'm Jordanne, the inaugural Carmen R. Gillespie fellow here at Furious Flower, and I couldn’t be more excited to share my experiences, thoughts and adventures with this community here at JMU!

So, I feel as though the best way to start off this blog is to formally introduce myself. My name is Jordanne Alexander, I’m a computer science major and minoring in creative writing here at JMU. I’m from Richmond, Virginia and have stayed there my entire life up until freshman year, when I moved up to Harrisonburg. I’ve been in clubs like Women of Color and Women in Technology, BSA, and others. I love writing code for different projects, practicing working with networks, learning about cyber security, and of course, writing plenty of poems and short stories that help me not just in classes, but get me through life in general. I’m in love with the idea of continuously growing and shaping my craft as a writer into something that can be useful in both the technology field and the creative writing world.

The difference between the writing code and writing poems isn’t actually that astonishingly huge from where I sit. I spend my days in labs on campus writing lines of codes, configuring networks, decrypting ciphers, and building things that could better benefit the school in general as well as adding to my continuously growing skills list. But it’s funny to think that what I do in computer science is exactly what I do in creative writing and the Furious Flower Poetry center. I spend time crafting poems, expanding my knowledge on the arts, decrypting other people’s work to better understand them, and building poems, stories, reviews, and a space that could better benefit those who are interested in poetry and other forms of writing as well. Two completely different paths that somehow always beautifully merge into one (tech skills + writing skills = The Seed).

You’re probably wondering, okay, great the first fellow has a blog! But what does that look like? What’s the plan? 

You’ll be accompanying me on my journey of artistic self-discovery; sometimes I’ll share my own poems, other times I’ll review other people’s poems or books that I find meaningful to me, and hopefully both will move you. I’ll be of course giving updates on Furious Flower readings and events that you should know about. I might even ask for poem submissions to share your work with the world! All in all, this will just be a space to get to know about Furious Flower and myself throughout the entirety of the year.

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