By Brianna McAdoo, Special to the AFRO

Once again, the restaurant, community and cultural space, Busboys and Poets, facilitated a night to remember. On Oct. 15, Busboys and Poets hosted “Taking the Arrow Out of The Heart: An Evening with Alice Walker and Desert Rose,” with the poet, literary icon, and political activist Alice Walker.

Established in 2015 by Andy Shallah, Busboys and Poets serves as a space of inclusion, where arts, culture and politics are celebrated and uplifted in an effort to create social change. Busboys and Poets has six different locations in the DMV community.

Literary icon Alice Walker spoke at Busboys and Poets in Northwest, D.C. on Oct. 15 and signed books for attendees after. (Courtesy Photo)

Since settling into their new location, several events were hosted, the most recent ones featuring Alice Walker and Desert Rose.

“Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart: An Evening with Alice Walker and Desert Rose” began around 6 p.m. Patrons purchasing Walker’s new book, {Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart} received a ticket to the event. Additionally, seating was offered to the community once ticket holders were accommodated.

The evening began with the meditative sounds of Lynne Holmes and Yusuf Ganief of Desert Rose. Hailing from Cape Town, South Africa, they are producers, composers and performers of universal sacred world music. After their set, Walker took to the stage with a grace and elegance that silenced the crowd as they waited for her to speak. She stood as she shared takeaways about the world, lessons about life, and some of her favorite poems from {Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart}.

One lesson Walker shared with the Busboys community was on pain and how to deal with it. She said, “If you are shot in the heart . . . there is a way to deal with that pain other than yelling at the person that created the pain.” This speaks to emotional accountability and how even when we aren’t in control of how other people treat us, we are in control of how we react.

Throughout the evening she engaged the audience with poems from her book. Some memorable ones were, “They Will Always Be More Beautiful Than You,” “The Long Road Home” and “Especially to The Toddlers of Iran and Other Countries.” Between poems she expounded on many ideas, questioned the horrors of the world and detailed how marginalized people are treated, and how human beings have treated the earth.

Walker spent time being critical of human beings and our actions, America as an entity, and the violence it’s inflicted on marginalized people and the world. She was careful not to absolve human beings of our responsibility to do better. Walker acknowledged that many of us feel lost because of “living in a culture that teaches you to be blind to other people’s suffering.”

Walker took a moment to speak to Black people and declared, “I want you to remember that you are loved, that you have been loved . . . they work hard to erase what is us.” This was a reminder that we are worthy even when we are treated otherwise.

After a night of music, poems, lessons and laughter, Walker signed books for the people in attendance.

To find out more about Busboys and Poets and their upcoming events, visit