2019 KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

adrienne maree brown

adrienne maree brown is a writer. She attended the Clarion Sci Fi Writers Workshop and the Hedgebrook Writers Residency in 2015, and Voices of Our Nation in 2014 as part of the inaugural Speculative Fiction Workshop. She was a 2013 Kresge Literary Arts Fellow and a 2013 and 2015 Knights Arts Challenge winner, writing and generating science fiction in and about Detroit. She was the Ursula Le Guin Feminist Sci Fi Fellow, and a Sundance/Time Warner 2016 Artist Grant Recipient.

adrienne is the author of the radical self/planet help book Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds published by AK Press in 2017. She is also the co-editor of the anthology Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements with Walidah Imarisha, published by AK Press in 2015. She has helped to cultivate work and thinking about Octavia Butler and Emergent Strategy, gathering a loose knit network of people interested in reading Octavia’s work from a political and strategic framework.

In terms of writing, adrienne blogs regularly on this site, writes the Pleasure Dome column at Bitch magazine, and is a contributing editor for YES! magazine.

adrienne was the facilitator of the founding year of the Detroit Narrative Agency (DNA), supporting Detroiters to shift the narratives of the city towards justice and liberation. DNA just announced it’s 2016 Cohort.

adrienne is in Somatics Teacher Training to deepen her healing, doula and facilitation work. She is part of the Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity team, at the intersection of political education, community organizing, somatics and black love.

She facilitates the internal healing and visionary development of organizations throughout the movement (most recently BYP100, Movement for Black Lives and Black Lives Matter. She has also worked with Building Equity and Alignment for Impact Initiative, Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, Chorus Foundation, Correctional Association of NY, Young Women United, Positive Women’s Network, Black Mesa Water Coalition, INCITE!, the Young Women’s Empowerment Project in Chicago, New Orleans Parents Organizing Network, ColorofChange.org and Detroit Summer).

adrienne was a co-facilitator for the Detroit Food Justice Task Force, facilitator for Detroit Future, and the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition, as well as part of the faculty for the Center for Whole Communities. She partnered with Engage to facilitate a year-long Community of Practice on Networks and Decentralizing Leadership, 2011-2012.

adrienne was the executive director of The Ruckus Society from 2006-2010, and sat on their board through 2012. She was also a National Co-Coordinator for the 2010 US Social Forum.

adrienne is on The Ruckus Society board, and is proud to have spent time on social justice organization boards including Allied Media ProjectsThird Wave Foundation, and Common Fire, as well as many others.

A co-founder of the League of Pissed Off/Young Voters and graduate of the Somatics and Social Justice Cohort, Somatics and Trauma year-long, Rockwood’s Art of Leadership year-long training, and Robert Gass’s Art of Change year-long training, adrienne is obsessed with learning and developing models for action, community strength, movement building and transformation.

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a queer disabled femme writer, organizer, performance artist and educator of Burgher/Tamil Sri Lankan and Irish/Roma ascent. The author of Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice, Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home (ALA Above the Rainbow List, short-listed for the Lambda and Publishing Triangle Awards), Bodymap (short-listed for the Publishing Triangle Award), Love Cake (Lambda Literary Award winner), and Consensual Genocide, with Ching-In Chen and Jai Dulani, she co-edited of TheRevolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence in Activist Communities. Leah’s next two books, Tonguebreaker and Exploring Transformative Justice: A Reader (co-edited with Ejeris Dixon) are forthcoming in 2019.

A lead artist with the disability justice performance collective Sins Invalid since 2009, Leah’s writing has been widely anthologized and published, with recent work featured in PBS Newshour, Poets.org’s Poetry and the Body folio, The Deaf Poets Society, Bitch, Self, TruthOut and The Body is Not an Apology. Her essays have appeared in Glitter and Grit, Octavia’s Brood, Dear Sister, Undoing Border Imperialism, Stay Solid, Persistence: Still Butch and Femme, Yes Means Yes, Visible: A Femmethology, Homelands, Colonize This, We Don’t Need Another Wave, Bitchfest, Without a Net, Dangerous Families, Brazen Femme, Femme and A Girl’s Guide to Taking Over The World. 

From 2006-2015 Leah co-founded and co-directed Mangos WIth Chili, a groundbreaking  queer and trans people of color performance tour and collective, and she co-founded Toronto’s Asian Arts Freedom School in 2006. She is a VONA Fellow and holds an MFA from Mills College. She is also a rust belt poet, a Sri Lankan with a white mom, a femme over 40, a grassroots intellectual, a survivor who is hard to kill.

 
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