Over the past month, we’ve watched as voices from across the national have taken the stage, whether virtually or otherwise, through the Democratic and Republican national conventions. Among them was a voice from Colorado State University.

On August 18, 2020, Colorado State University’s very own Distinguished Professor and poet Camille Dungy took part in the Democratic National Convention (DNC). She read her poem, “Characteristics of Life,” as part of the convention’s Council on the Environmental and Climate Crisis. Although the special event was not part of the evening programming, which took place from August 17-August 20, the DNC hosted multiple daytime events ranging across a variety of topics and representatives, from small business council to an LGBTQ caucus.

According to CSU’s Source, Dungy was invited to speak by Michelle Deatrick, the chair and founder of the council, only a week before she was due to speak. But in spite of the time crunch, Dungy said that “To be asked to speak at this convention, which is focused on moving this country forward, is an amazing honor…”


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Deatrick, who is also a poet and familiar with Dungy’s work, founded the Council in August of last year, demonstrating how the political and the artistic are not as discrete as one might think. Dungy shares this vision, as she began her reading by describing how engaging difference and creativity are critical to social and environmental justice, which are themselves indelibly interconnected.

“This is really a culmination of years of efforts at the intersection of history, environmental concerns, social justice and moving toward a safer, brighter future…” said Dungy. “I always feel it’s really important that our region is represented in these conversations, so I’m proud to be a voice for Colorado.”

If you’d like to hear Dungy’s beautiful reading, which comes from her book Trophic Cascade, click here. The full DNC Climate Council can be found here, and in the meantime, you can make sure you’re registered to vote here.