From his earliest days on the campaign trail in 2008 to the recent Democratic and Republican National Conventions, race and discussions of race have shaped Obama's candidacy, his presidency, and the current elections. The first African American elected to the office, Obama has usually avoided addressing race directly at the same time that race continues to influence the ways in which his tenure and policies are judged. As politics grows increasingly partisan and violence against racial and racialized groups, including Muslims and Sikhs, appears to be on the rise, we'll hear from a panel of commentators to analyze race and the ways in which it is understood and deployed within the context of contemporary politics.
Andrew Hsiao, senior editor at Verso Books
Michael Ralph, assistant professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU
Linda Sarsour, director of the Arab American Association of New York and the advocacy and civic engagement coordinator for the National Network for Arab American Communities
This week, the Asian American Arts Alliance convenes Locating the Sacred, a twelve-day festival that brings visual and performing artists into public and private spaces, from churches to gardens to schools. In locales throughout the city, participants aim to bring communities together, highlight our shared histories, and explore the question of the "sacred." We'll be joined by Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, whose spoken-word poetry theater project, Say You Heard My Echo, explores the lives of three fictional Asian American women and their spirituality a decade after 9/11 and was commissioned by the festival, as well as by performers YaliniDream and Adeeba Rana.
Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai is a spoken word poet, playwright, and filmmaker whose work has been featured at over 500 venues worldwide, including three seasons of "HBO Def Poetry." Award recipient of the Illinois Arts Council, Asian American Arts Alliance, New York Foundation for the Arts, Asian Women Giving Circle, and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, she has held residencies at Norcroft, Hedgebrook, New World Theater, and Urban Word NYC-New York Live Arts.
Adeeba Afshan Rana is a poet and a librarian based in Brooklyn, New York. She has been a featured performer with Body Politic at University of Massachusetts-Amherst, We Got Issues! at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, Boston Progress, and the louderARTS project in NYC. A former writer-in-residence at Edgewood Arts in Savannah Georgia, she is currently pursuing her MFA in poetry at Stonecoast and her Master's in Library Science at Pratt Institute.
YaliniDream: Lankan Tamil Blood, Manchester born, Texas bred & Brooklyn steeped, YaliniDream conjures spirit through her unique blend of poetry, theater, song, & dance. YaliniDream was a 7 year member of Mango Tribe directing their NYC run of Sisters in the Smoke and serving as Co-artistic director in 2007. She was a 2006 Mid-Atlantic Artists in Community Fellow, a 2008 Urban Arts Initiative Fellow & a recipient of the Jerome Foundation's Travel & Study Award in Literature.