2:00 - 3:30
A panel of Black women writers and mental health advocates find freedom from their struggles through writing.
People love the sassy, strong Black female character. From Florence on The Jeffersons to Cookie on Empire, she is someone who is entertaining, admired, even feared. Contrary to these images, Black women aren’t made of Vibranium. We’re dealing with challenges impacting our mental health such as high rates of domestic violence, stress, racism, sexism, homophobia etc. Many of us secretly carry shame for living with mental health challenges because we’re expected to be emotionally invincible.
This group of writers and mental health advocates is disrupting the silence. They have suffered from stigma yet eventually found freedom through their words and . Now they are telling their stories so others struggling will know they have nothing to be ashamed of. Some stories are heavy, others mixed with humor. All are real.
Reservations required: https://bit.ly/kjLetHerTell7-19-20
The panel of writers includes:
Kira Lynne Allen is a poet, performer, collage artist, activist, and a Certified InterPlay Leader. She is a four time VONA Voices Fellow, a Poetry for the People alumna, a phenomenal workshop facilitator and a motivational speaker. She is a contributor to All the Women in My Family Sing, Tayo Literary Magazine and Endangered Species, Enduring Values. She has more than a dozen poems in anthologies and two self-published chapbooks. Write This Second: A Poetic Memoir charts her journey from desecration to divinity; from addict and high school dropout to master’s degree recipient, in order to sound an alarm meant to reveal and disrupt the roots of rape culture by proclaiming our authentic selves. She has a BA in Creative Writing from Mills College and an MA in Transformative Arts from JFK University. Kira grew up in the Bay Area and raised two brave, brilliant, resilient daughters in Oakland, CA; where she still lives with her partner Kat. Twitter
Jeneé Darden is an award-winning journalist, public speaker, mental health advocate and proud Oakland native. She has reported for such outlets as NPR, Time, Ebony, KQED, and The LA Times. She hosts KALW’s arts segment Sights & Sounds, and is also their East Oakland reporter. Check out her documentary Where is East Oakland? on Youtube. Her first book is a womanist collection of poetry and essays titled When a Purple Rose Blooms (Nomadic Press). She writes about her personal experiences with love, sex and mental health as a Black woman. Jeneé hosts the blog Cocoa Fly and is pitching a book about Black sexuality. Visit CocoaFly.com to read her series Under the Covers: The Popularity and Debate Over Black Erotic Literature. Jeneé holds a BA in ethnic studies from UC San Diego and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Southern California. Twitter
Natalie Devora’s memoir about living with albinism is Black Girl, White Skin: A Life in Stories (BookBaby 2018). She was senior editor for Ache: A Journal for Lesbians of African Descent and has been featured on NPR’s Code Switch. Her work has appeared in Sweatpants and Coffee, Arise 2.0, and in various anthologies. Natalie is the National Coordinator for International Albinism Awareness Day with the National Association for Albinism and Hypopigmentation (NOAH).
Adrienne Danyelle Oliver, MFA, EdD, teaches English and creative writing at Laney College. Her academic work is published in Storytelling, Self, and Society (Wayne State University Press 2018) and Systemic Collapse. Her creative work has been published in Digital Paper and The Womanist. She is a VONA fellow and leads a virtual writing and healing circle for Black women. Kelechi Ubozoh is Nigerian-American and co-editor of the essay collection We’ve Been Too Patient: Voices from Radical Mental Health (North Atlantic Books 2019). She was featured in the award-winning documentary The S-Word, about suicide attempt survivors. Her story has also been in O Magazine and on Gayle King’s CBS This Morning. Kelechi works for California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA).