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WEEKDAY MATTERS | Lit Youngstown event to feature writers Cris Harris and Kellie Kirksey

Looking for something to do this week? Check out these events.
Lit Youngstown - Cris Harris and Kellie Kirksey
Cris Harris and Kellie Kirksey will read from their works Wednesday for Lit Youngstown’s First Wednesday Readers Series. (Contributed image)

[EDITOR'S NOTE: The location of the Youngstown's Press Club's observance of World Press Freedom Day has been changed.]

Here are some of the events happening around the Mahoning Valley this week. For more events, check out our events calendar.

YOUNGSTOWN — Cris Harris and Kellie Kirksey will read from their works for Lit Youngstown’s First Wednesday Readers Series at 7 p.m. Wednesday (May 5).

The readings will be streamed on Zoom and Lit Youngstown’s Facebook page. To view on Zoom and/or read during the open mic, register here.

Harris is the author of “I Have Not Loved You With My Whole Heart,” a memoir about growing up in a household wrestling with faith, addiction, violence and the AIDS epidemic. He teaches writing and experiential education at an independent school outside Cleveland. A recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award for nonfiction, his essays have appeared in Post Road, Proximity Magazine, The New Engagement, Nowhere Magazine and the Indiana Review.

Kirksey is a global traveler, speaker, poet, tree hugger, yoga teacher, holistic psychotherapist, family lover, drummer, dancer, spa promoter, heart centered hypnotherapist, live happily life consultant, essential oil enthusiast and wellness promoter and has presented workshops and wellness circles both nationally and internationally.

World Press Freedom Day to be observed today

YOUNGSTOWN — The Youngstown Press Club will observe World Press Freedom Day at noon today inside Kilcawley Center, in the back of the Chestnut Room.

During the observance, which will be streamed on the Youngstown Press Club Facebook group page, press club members will read the names of 50 journalists killed while serving their communities in 2020. Five additional journalists have been killed this year.

Reporters Without Borders, an international organization dedicated to defending freedom of the press, compiled the list of journalists slain because of their professional activities.

World Press Freedom Day is an annual international observance sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

The Youngstown Press Club promotes journalism and other communication-related professions in the Mahoning Valley.

Trumbull KSU senior offers virtual program on peace

WARREN — Kent State University at Trumbull senior English student Valerie Dalrymple will present “It Starts with You: Promoting Peace and Civil Discourse in Our Lives” from 2 to 5 p.m. Tuesday (May 4).

Dalrymple chose May 4 for the virtual event because of its historical context for Kent State University: the 1970 Ohio National Guard shootings at the Kent campus.

“In politics, social media and even our personal lives, people are working to hurt others through humiliation, ostracization, threats and even physical violence,” Dalrymple said in a news release. “May 4 represents a horrible day in our school and national history, but it also reflects a day where we can do something about the hatred and help shift the conversation from one of destruction to one of mutual respect, mutual compassion and mutual understanding.” 

The event will take place in two parts. First is "Hearing the Voice of the Other: Finding a Small Patch of Common Ground to Listen and Talk to Each Other," in which a panel will discuss using rhetoric and/or other forms of communication to de-escalate situations. 

 The panel will include:

  • N.J. Akbar, associate vice president, Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Kent State University;
  • Molly Merryman, director, Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, Kent State University;
  • Peter Byrne, associate professor, English, Kent State University at Trumbull;
  • Lauren Lemley, instructor, American Sign Language, Kent State University at University Trumbull.

Then, David Hassler, director of the Wick Poetry Center, will moderate and present "Poems of Peace and Conflict Transformation: An Interactive Presentation.” 

Five poets will be featured with their poems of peace, and then participate in a brief panel discussion about poetry and conflict transformation.  

For more information or to register, click here.

JCC of Youngstown offers clay workshop

YOUNGSTOWN — The Paul and Yetta Gluck School of Visual Arts is offering a four-week clay workshop on Wednesdays in May.

“Clay Creatures” is for children age 9 to 13. The workshop runs from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through May 26.

Participants will mold an imaginary creature and bring it to life.

Cost is $40 for JCC members and $55 for nonmembers. To register, click here.

Piggyback Foundation's Chocolate Fest is Thursday

YOUNGSTOWN — Piggyback Foundation of Youngstown will stage its signature fundraiser, The Chocolate Fest, at 6 p.m. Thursday (May 6) at the Embassy Banquet Center, 5030 Youngstown-Poland Road.  

Due to COVID-19, the foundation has substituted its all-you-can-eat buffet for an individually plated chocolate smorgasbord this year.    

Each person will receive a 12-inch plate with chocolate from Mocha House, Abigail’s Bakery, Jimmy’s Italian Specialties, Cheri’s Fudge and Candy, Sparkle Market and Giannios Chocolates.   

“We try to offer our guests a variety of chocolate flavors and textures: Oreo, chocolate peanut butter, mint chocolate and chocolate dipped fruit, just to name a few,” Piggyback Director Janelle Nagy said in a news release. “We’re serving the chocolate on covered catering plates because I’m not sure anyone will be able to finish the whole thing."

Tickets cost $40 per person or $300 for a reserved table of eight. Tickets include a chocolate smorgasbord platter and pasta dinner. 

 A cash bar will be available for adult beverages. The event also will feature basket raffles and a 50/50 raffle.  

Tickets are available here.

Historical Center to offer coke making exhibit

YOUNGSTOWN — The Youngstown Historical Center for Industry & Labor will launch a virtual exhibit on coke making at 2 p.m. Thursday (May 6).

Coke making was essential for fueling blast furnaces in iron production.

The exhibit was produced by students in Youngstown State University “Museum Curation II” class in the Applied History Program under the tutelage of Dr. Tom Leary.

The exhibit will then be accessible on