City Council honors poet laureate Sonia Sanchez of Germantown

City Councilwomen Marian Tasco and Blondell Reynolds-Brown honored Germantown’s Sonia Sanchez with a resolution at Thursday’s meeting. They acknowledged both her storied career and current status as the city’s first-ever poet laureate.

The poet used the opportunity to reiterate what she considers her most important role as poet-laureate: That of encouraging peace, which is exactly what she is doing through the interactive art project, “Peace is a Haiku.”

Through that project, people are encouraged to compse haikus about peace and submit them via the Mural Arts Project website. Some entries will be included in a “Peace Mural” in South Philadelphia later this year.

Sanchez told those assembled in Council Chambers that Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou and Alice Walker have already submitted theirs.

“This is a wonderful, wonderful proclamation,” said Sanchez, who was barely visible over the podium at the front of council chambers. “Know that in the city of Philadelphia, there are people working for something called peace.”

After Tasco and Reynolds-Brown read the proclamation listing Sanchez’s storied career in poetry and activism, the poet noted that already, four American cities have asked for help establishing peace murals of their own.

“Each one of us must pick up this message of peace,” she said.

Journalist honored posthumously

Council also honored the late Fatimah Ali, a veteran journalist and radio broadcaster who died in January at the age of 56. Sanchez was among those who eulogized Ali at a Jan. 30 “celebration of life.”

Resolution co-sponsor Tasco noted that Ali’s death was “a great loss to journalism and the city.”

“She used her courage, intellect, grace and power to make a real difference in her community,” said Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, while flanked by Ali’s loved ones.

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