Social Justice, Witness, and Change: 5 Upcoming Panels for the Politically Minded

f4d725c32ef594f2592e68ef4de513ceOver the next 48+ hours, millions of people will be taking to the streets in protest of the presidential inauguration.  In honor of those protests, I wanted to feature FIVE upcoming AWP panels and events for the politically minded.

As many of us know (and will likely say), EVERY LGBTQ panel is political based on its queerness alone.  And many panels (mine included) will likely turn even MORE political than it was originally intended.  Therefore, deciding which panels to include here was difficult.

These panels, however, made the cut, either because of their connection to our shared history, because they are looking to expose and/or change some aspect of the status quo, or becausethey are looking to change the world for the better:

The Elegy Endures: 30 Years of Community Witness to HIV/AIDS

In the 30th anniversary year of the first public display of the AIDS Memorial Quilt in Washington, DC., LGBTQ writers who have continually addressed the pandemic of HIV/AIDS in their own work, on websites, in the editing of anthologies, and in conducting community workshops, reflect on the power and agency of the written word in confronting, interpreting, even transforming, the loss, the politics, and the legacy of this devastating plague that persists into our own time. Panelists: Terry Wolverton, David Groff, Irene Borger, Reginald Harris, Michael Broder

Details: Thursday, 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm, Room 101, Washington Convention Center, Level One

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say: How to Write Stories People Don’t Want Told

We all know not to talk politics, religion, or money at the dinner table, but should these subjects be off limits for storytelling? Some of the best writing comes from tackling topics people would rather not discuss. These journalists and memoirists have written about gay “conversion” therapy, segregation in school, shameful family secrets, and tracing slave lineage. The panelists will explain how to report stories when sources don’t want to talk, and will share the price they paid for doing so.  Panelists: Garrard Conley, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Michael Twitty, Kristen Green

Details: Thursday, 1:30pm to 2:45 pm, Liberty Salon L, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four

We’re Recruiting: Teaching & Enacting Social Justice in the Writing Classroom

To teach writing is essentially a political act—we give our students the tools to examine and question their culture and the potential to change it. But how much of our own agenda do we bring into our curriculum? How do we teach our students to think and speak critically from their own experience? Teaching writers and activists in realms of racial justice, feminism, LGBTQI, and environmentalism share their methods, successes, and failures to integrate social justice and the pedagogy of writing.  Panelists: Melissa Febos, Syreeta McFadden, Colin Beavan, Sreshtha Sen, & Rachel Simon

Details: Friday, 4:30 pm to 5:45 pm; Marquis Salon 5, Marriot Marquis, Meeting Level Two

When Safe Spaces Aren’t: (Re)Imagining for a Multicultural Creative Space

The term safe space has become the new buzzword for nurturing or supporting. This panel will describe how structural bias and inequity can mask the architecture of Whiteness by unpacking the term and decoding the cultural ideologies underpinning these spaces. It will seek to help writers of color and allies (re-)imagine multicultural creative spaces. Ample time given for discussion with audience and panelists on how to develop guidelines and best practices.  Panelists: Alyss Dixson, Jennifer Baker, Amy Lam, Metta Sama

Details: Saturday, 10:30 am to 11:45 am; Liberty Salon M, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four

And Finally:  The Social Justice Mixer

We conclude the converence with an LGBTQ Writers Caucus Event.  We hope to toast another successful AWP.  A good time and place to connect with other writers focused on social justice and inclusion. This mixer will be held in conjunction with Lambda Literary Foundation and CantoMundo

Details: Saturday, 6:30 to 8:00 pm; Scarlet Oak Room, Mezzanine Level , Marriott Marquis






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