Each year for the past couple of decades, faculty members at Brookdale Community College have teamed for a project with an unusual name: the Evening of International Psychology and Poetry Performances, the 19th annual edition of which takes place inside BCC’s Warner Student Life Center on April 30.
A forum for students and educators to share poetic work that “reflects courage, wisdom, or temperance,” the free public event has historically showcased readings in both English translation and a variety of original languages. And when the 7 pm program commandeers the SLC building’s Navesink Room on Wednesday, it will celebrate the spirit of the “everyday heroes” who walk among us.
At the same time, the event will mark a grim anniversary, with special appearances by two men with a living connection to one of the most infamous tragedies in modern American history.
The March 1964 murder of a young woman named Kitty Genovese — an incident in which more than 30 witnesses reportedly failed to summon help as the brutal assault unfolded behind a Queens apartment building — was more than an isolated signpost in an increasingly violent urban landscape. The local crime story went worldwide, standing for many as a signifier of some dark currents in American society. It was studied and cited by numerous academics, politicians and pundits, while playwrights, novelists and even comic book creators used it as the basis for ever more troubling scenarios.
William Genovese, a disabled Vietnam veteran and the brother of the victim, will be among the people honored by the psychologist Dr. Philip Zimbardo with the World’s Quiet Hero Awards at the Brookdale event. Genovese is also scheduled to speak, along with attorney Robert E. Sparrow from the murder case’s original trial, in a presentation co-hosted by Dr. Harold Takooshian, the Fordham University professor known as “the foremost champion of the Kitty Genovese legacy.”
Go here to the All Good section of redbankgreen for more on the event and the World’s Quiet Hero Awards.