n the dimly lit Cafe Berlin, sun shining on his face through the window, Andrew Hutchinson moves swiftly through the crowded cafe and onto the stage. He pulls a little red book out of his back pocket and in the spirit of Cinco de Mayo, he began to perform a poem he calls "Mi Cocina es Su Cocina" or "My Kitchen is Your Kitchen."
On Thursday, May 5, One Mic hosted a fundraiser for Moving Ahead, a local after-school program that provides a mix of one-on-one tutoring and fun cultural and physical activities for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. One Mic was created three years ago by junior Andrew Hutchinson and T’Keyah Thomas. What started out as small group of friends and a few poets getting together on Tuesdays at the Tiger Hotel has turned into a movement for the Columbia community, a celebration of art, culture and music.
“We realized that there was no place in Columbia that was strictly a poetry open mic,” Hutchinson says. "Everything was poetry allowed or poetry plus a hip hop show. There was a pretty firm current of spoken word and social-justice-inspired poetry at that time, and there still is. We created this for people who just really want to have their voices heard."
Thursday’s event at Cafe Berlin raised more than $850 for Moving Ahead. The money will go toward the philanthropy's summer program that starts in June and runs through August.