R247. Agents of Change: Social Justice and Activism in the Literary Community

Archives, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four
Thursday, February 9, 2017
3:00 pm to 4:15 pm


How do we, as writers and literary arts organizers, bring about change in the greater literary community? And how do we move from intention and discussion about race, gender, and inequality to action? This panel brings together literary organizations to discuss their roles as social justice activists in the writing community. These prominent members of national literary organizations examine the current issues and challenges facing the community and the steps necessary to move forward.



Ashaki M. Jackson is a social psychologist and poet who has worked with at-risk and post-incarceration youth through research, evaluation, and literary mentoring for over one decade. She is a Cave Canem alumna and VONA/Voices alumna, local #blackpoetsspeakout curator, and Women Who Submit cofounder.

Elmaz Abinader is the author of two books of poetry, This House My Bones, and In the Country of My Dreams..., a memoir, Children of the Roojme, and several one-woman shows including Country of Origin. She is a cofounder of VONA and teaches at Mills College.

Tony Valenzuela is a longtime community activist and writer. He is the Executive Director of the Lambda Literary Foundation.

Leigh Stein is the author of the memoir Land of Enchantment, a novel called The Fallback Plan, and a full-length poetry collection, Dispatch from the Future. She is the cofounder and Executive Director of Out of the Binders.

Nicole Sealey is the author of The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named, winner of the 2015 Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker and elsewhere. She is the programs director at Cave Canem Foundation.


March 23–26, 2022
Philadelphia, PA

Pennsylvania Convention Center