Metro Weekly

Rayceen Pendarvis hosts “Taking the Stage, Taking a Stand” at Busboys and Poets

Open mike night uplifts the stories of queer people affected by violence

Rayceen Pendarvis — Photo: Julian Vankim

“The open mike night is a way of bringing LGBTQ artists together to have a voice, to stand up for change, to stand against the injustices happening to the community,” says Rayceen Pendarvis, host of “Taking the Stage, Taking a Stand: LGBTQ Voices Against Violence.”

Held at Busboys and Poets, the event, sponsored by The DC Center and the DC Anti-Violence Project, is meant to be cathartic, allowing victims and their allies to share stories of how violence has impacted them through spoken word, poetry, singing, or performance art.

The evening is intended to serve as a culmination to a three-day weekend dedicated to standing against violence. On Saturday, Dec. 16, from 1 to 5 p.m., The DC Center hosts “End Violence Against Sex Workers.” The event will honor those sex workers who have lost their lives, as well as explore the intersection between sex work and marginalized populations. On Sunday, select churches in the District will hold services calling for an end to hate violence.

“Everyone has a voice, and everyone is welcome to come to the stage to share their stories, to share their talents,” says Pendarvis. “Whether you’re a victim, or know someone who’s a victim, everyone is affected by violence, so all of our voices matter.”

“Taking the Stage, Taking a Stand: LGBTQ Voices Against Violence” is Monday, Dec. 18 from 7-9 p.m. at Busboys and Poets, 2021 14th St. NW. Arrive by 6:30 p.m. to sign up to perform. For more information, or to reserve a spot, email Sam Goodwin at

For more information on “End Violence Against Sex Workers” and other programming from the anti-violence weekend, visit

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at