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A Voice, a Dedication

by Tori Pittman

The mission of the Greensboro Voice is to elevate voices and public discussion on issues that are not frequently covered in mainstream media outlets. A mission that the Greensboro Voice has fulfilled since 2010. A mission that Joe Smith went on the frontlines for through every publication.

On Feb. 26, the Greensboro Voice hosted its storytelling and poetry reading at the Scuppernong Books on Elm Street. A small crowd gathered with reporters, writers and their guests following along with the winter issue of the paper. One by one, reporters and writers took to the podium and read certain pieces of stories and poems.

“We want to enlarge our audience of readers for the Greensboro Voice and the owner was kind enough to add us to his lineup of readers,” said Elizabeth Chiseri- Strater.

According to Strater, Mary Yost from Elon College started the Greensboro Voice. After two years she re-located to Colorado for work, that was when Strater took over.

Strater, a University of North Carolina at Greensboro professor and editor of the Greensboro Voice, began with a welcome to those who attended. She made it known that this event was dedicated to Joe Smith. Smith, who is a well-rounded reporter and writer, and adored by many, is fighting pancreatic cancer and is now in Hospice.

Many of the staff present took time to share thoughts of Smith. Most of them spoke of how great a writer he was for the Voice and said that he would always be great in spirit.

The main objective of the Greensboro Voice is to highlight the homelessness issue that’s been ongoing in this city. Many stories are tales of those who have been homeless and now are getting back to society.

“We want the community to become more aware of homelessness and how that situation does not entirely define a person,” said Strater. “Many of the homeless have real talents.”

A lot of the readings had a feel of spiritual inspiration. Nadirah Goldsmith read a poem, “I Came From a Place”, written by Anita Gilmore. Goldsmith also read some of her own writings that were a reflection of when she visited Smith at hospice.

Other staff writers read poem entries from last year.

Another entry by Smith was called “Homeless 2000 Years Ago” and tells a story about a 2000 year-old man who was homeless by choice. There is a picture above, which is a sculpture of a man lying on a bench, made by Timothy P. Schmalz. A cloth covers him up and the only thing you see is his feet. The story is a portrayal of the tale of Jesus Christ.

Strater read a story about a man who overcame addiction as told by his sister, Anne Wallace. Marc battled alcoholism. He attended the meetings for his addiction and got treatment. On his road to recovery in these meetings, he volunteered in serving coffee when there was a need of a server. Anne now honors his brother, who has passed on, serving coffee every morning to those in the Interactive Resource Center. The IRC in Greensboro, located on East Washington Street, is a place where many workers and volunteers assist the homeless with food, shelter and other necessities.

Strater said that many students have volunteered with the Voice and become interns for the paper for college credit. Most of the students have been Master of Fine Art students from UNCG.

This event was a very special moment, one which Joe Smith would feel very honored by what his colleagues have done for him. The Greensboro Voice will continue their reading sessions every other month. The next one will be on April 4 and 5 where there will be a 24-hour reading at Scuppernong Books. !

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