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To further amplify Black voices within our Beloved Community, Oregon Food Bank is hosting a poetry hour in honor of Black History Month.

This event will feature four local Black poets – Bella, Brianna Renae, Nani Jones and Israel – to raise their voices to bolster resilience, inspire liberation and advocate for systemic change.

Brianna Renae is a spoken word artist from Portland, Oregon. She started writing poetry as a coping mechanism to heal herself. She transformed into an author when she discovered that her writing had the capability to heal others as well. Brianna’s poetry will take you on an emotional ride as she explores themes such as activism, vulnerability and raw Black Girl Magic. Brianna founded The People’s Poets open mic in 2017. She created this platform so that writers of color can feel the power and liberation of telling their story. Brianna Renae was crowned 2018 Grand Slam Champion and represented Portland at the 2020 Women of the World Poetry Slam. She has featured for many great organizations such as Pickathon, WeMakePdx, Literary Arts and many more. Brianna has something to say, and is thankful for anyone willing to listen. Follow Brianna on Instagram: @brianna_poetry

Bella is a Portland-based award-winning performance poet, writer, and author. Her book “Side Effects of Remembering the Little Things” is available at Powell’s Books and Jailbreak Studios. Her work centers around being a Black woman, abusive relationships, her anxiety and the hope between it all.

“My name is Israel also known as Izzy Is Real. I am a Charlotte, NC native who became a Portland advocate at the young age of 16. I started writing poetry a couple years prior to moving to Portland. I have always had a lot on my mind and poetry has given me the ability to express thoughts with purpose.” – Israel Hammond/Izzy Is Real

Nani Jones is an up-and-coming Portland poet and rapper. As a lifelong writer, she has written hundreds of poems and songs that voices how she sees the world. Influenced by her daily life, her works contains themes of love, Black power, and overall what it means to be herself. The former Slamlandia Grand Slam Champ and a current member of Lyrical Quest she has years of experience performing. When not performing she spends her time baking and helping others.