Emanuel Xavier is the author of the poetry collections Selected Poems of Emanuel Xavier, Radiance, Nefarious, If Jesus Were Gay, Americano, Pier Queen, and the novel Christ Like. He is also editor of Me No Habla With Acento: Contemporary Latino Poetry, Bullets & Butterflies: queer spoken word poetry, and Mariposas: A Modern Anthology of Queer Latino Poetry. An Equality Forum LGBTQ History Month Icon, Emanuel Xavier is a poet and author of queer youth and is a longtime LGBTQ rights activist. Xavier is the recipient of a New York City Council Citation Award, an International Latino Book Award, Lambda Literary Award nominations, and American Library Association Over the Rainbow Books selections for his collections. He is the recipient of a Gay City Impact Award and the Marsha A. Gomez Cultural Heritage Award.
As a survivor of child abuse, former homeless gay teen, and member of the House ball scene, he has staged many benefits for queer youth and is a longtime LGBTQ rights activist. Xavier is the recipient of a New York City Council Citation Award, an International Latino Book Award, Lambda Literary Award nominations, and American Library Association Over the Rainbow Books selections for his collections. He is the recipient of a Gay City Impact Award and the Marsha A. Gomez Cultural Heritage Award.
Katharine Wolfe is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at St. Lawrence University. She works principally in ethics, feminist theory, and continental philosophy. She has published in journals such as Environmental Ethics, Sartre Studies International, Feminist Philosophical Quarterly, The Southern Journal of Philosophy, Rethinking Marxism, and more. Her work in public philosophy can be found at Black Issues in Philosophy, Impact Ethics and NorthJersey.com.
Karl O’Brian Williams is currently Deputy Chair and Theatre Coordinator in the Speech, Communication and Theatre Arts Department at The Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY), and an Adjunct at NYU Steinhardt in the Program in Educational Theatre.
He is a Jamaican-born actor, playwright, producer, and educator. His acting career has taken him from stages in the Caribbean to those in New York, Toronto, and the United Kingdom. In 2019 he was co-writer on the short film Winston, which received the following film festival selections: the Hip Hop Film Festival, BronzeLens, Circle City Film Festival, Queen City Film Festival and the African American Film Festival. The screenplay was adapted from Williams’s monologue “The Kept Man.” His play The Black That I Am has been staged in Glasgow and Galloway for the National Theatre of Scotland, and at the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival. Not About Eve had a successful run Off-Off-Broadway in New York, Queens, Brooklyn, Rochester, Hartford, CT, and North Carolina at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem. In 2013 the play received 3 AUDELCO nominations for Excellence in Black Theatre including Outstanding Ensemble Cast, Best Dramatic Production, and Best Playwright. The Boys on the Hill was a selection in The Culture Project’s 2015 Summer Play Reading series at the Lynn Redgrave Theatre, and for Long Island University’s Kumble Theatre 2016 Pride Month Celebrations. The play is now being developed along with another one-act called Gully Queen as part of a trilogy on LGBTQ+ lives in J Jamaica. Random was a selection in NYU’s ten-minute play festival, and was adapted into a short film by students at the Art Institute of Atlanta in 2009. He was playwright in residence with Theatre Askew’s Youth Performance Experience. Williams’s passion for theatre and education has propelled his work with students of all ages and abilities. He narrated the audiobook These Ghosts Are Family written by Maisy Card and published by Simon & Schuster (Paste magazine’s Top 10 Audio Books for March 2020).
As Artistic Director for Braata Productions, he curates the organization’s bi-annual Caribbean Play Reading Series, creates educational theatre curriculum for after school and senior center programs, and created Braata’s annual events, Bankra Caribbean Folk Festival and Old Time Grand Market. He has shared the stage with Harry Belafonte and the late historian and activist Howard Zinn, and pursues artistic projects that interrogate socio-political issues, especially those intersecting with Caribbean culture, queerness, and immigration.
Dr. Randall Westbrook is a faculty member at the School of Education at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. He was also guest editor and contributor to The Journal of Negro Education and authored “Elusive Quest: Reflecting on Bell and Brown” for the Harvard Law School Journal on Racial and Ethnic Justice. He received his EdD from Rutgers University’s Graduate School of Education. Professor Westbrook specializes in the thought of W.E.B. DuBois and edited the volume, Education and Empowerment: The Essential Writings of W.E.B. DuBois (2013). In a February 2021 interview with of Dr. Westbrook, published in Mom&I Today, he reflects on teaching during Black History Month, “I talk about the Silent Parade of 1917 that Dubois led where there were 30,000 Black men, women, and children walking down the street, silent. They only carried signs, and how that scared people. 100 years later, we have people walking down the middle of the street relatively silent, holding signs, and it’s still scaring people.”
Dr. Arlene Torres is an Associate Professor in the Department of Africana, Puerto Rican/Latino Studies at Hunter College. She is a cultural anthropologist with expertise in Caribbean, Latina/Latino, and Latin American Studies. As a public intellectual, Dr. Torres has served as a member of the Advisory Board and consultant to a national project on RACE supported by the American Anthropological Association, National Science Foundation and Ford Foundation. She is Past-President of the Puerto Rican Studies Association and Past-President of the Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists, a division of the American Anthropological Association.
Dr. Torres’ publications include two edited volumes with Norman E. Whitten, Jr. & Blackness in Latin America and the Caribbean. “Collecting Puerto Ricans” In Kevin Yelvington (ed.) Afro-Atlantic Dialogues: Anthropology in the Diaspora. Santa Fe, NM: SAR Press, reflect Torres’ intellectual concerns. Dr. Torres focuses on the racialization of ethnic groups in varied cultural and institutional settings works on several university, college-wide, and community organizations to support the educational advancement of underrepresented communities in higher education.
As an administrative and faculty mentor, she co-directed the CUNY-Harvard Leadership Development Program, the Mellon Faculty Diversity Career Enhancement Grant and the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program at Hunter College. She served as University Dean for Recruitment and Diversity and the Director of the Chancellor’s Latino Faculty Initiative in Academic Affairs in the Central Administration at CUNY.
Sr. Helen Saldanha is member of the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit and an executive co-director of VIVAT International, a global human rights advocacy organization that works at the United Nations. VIVAT International is a Non-Governmental Organization which has a membership of more than 25,000 Sisters, Brothers and Priests from 12 Catholic Religious Congregations, working in 120 countries for promotion of human rights through advocacy in international and local levels. VIVAT International has the Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) and Associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI).
Rob Robinson is a member of the Leadership Committee of the Take Back the Land movement and a staff volunteer at the Partners for Dignity and Rights (formerly National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI). After losing his job in 2001, he spent two years homeless on the streets of Miami and ten months in a New York City shelter. He eventually overcame homelessness and has been in the housing movement based in New York City since 2007. In the fall of 2009, Rob was chosen to be New York City chairperson for the first official mission of a UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing. He was a member of an advanced teamcoordinated by the U.S. Human Rights Network in early 2010, traveling to Geneva, Switzerland several times to prepare for the United States’ initial appearance in the Universal Periodic Review. Rob Robinson has worked with homeless populations in Budapest, Hungary and Berlin, Germany and is connected with housing movements in South Africa and Brazil. He works with the European Squatters Collective, International Alliance of Inhabitants; Landless People’s Movement (MST) and the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB) and is a member of the Steering Committee of the USA Canada Alliance of Inhabitants. In December 2008, he completed a course with People’s Production House and the Community News Production Institute and has been a member of a social justice media collective which produces and airs a monthly radio show over WBAI in New York City called Global Movements Urban Struggles.
Dr. Erica Richardson is an Assistant Professor of English at Baruch College, CUNY. She received her dual B.A. in English and Classical Civilization from Wellesley College and her PhD from Columbia University. Her scholarship and teaching interests include the aesthetics and intellectual history of black social life as depicted in late 19th and 20th century African American literary production; the corpus and thought of W.E.B. DuBois; print culture of the Harlem Renaissance; African American drama; and theories of gender and sexuality in African American literature. Her current research project explores how black authors incorporate, critique, and subvert the discourses of the so-called Negro problem through a range of literary productions following the demise of Reconstruction through the Harlem Renaissance. She has presented segments of her work at the American Studies Association (ASA), the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA), and the American Literature Association (ALA). At Baruch, she teaches courses in the Great Works program and on Harlem Renaissance and Black Women’s Writing.
Dr. Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas is Frederick Clifford Ford Professor of Ethnicity, Race, and Migration, Anthropology and American Studies at Yale University. She received her BA in Economics and Latin American Studies from Yale College, and her MA/PhD in Anthropology from Columbia University. Her most recent book, Parenting Empires: Whiteness, Class, and the Moral Economy of Privilege in Latin America (Duke University Press, 2020), examines the parenting practices of Brazilian and Puerto Rican upper-classes, as these alter urban landscapes; provide moral justifications for segregation, surveillance, and foreign interventions; and recast idioms of crisis, corruption, and austerity according to the dictums of US empire. Some of her earlier works include National Performances: Class, Race, and Space in Puerto Rican Chicago (The University of Chicago Press, 2003; ASA Latino Studies Book Award, 2006) and Street Therapists: Affect, Race, and Neoliberal Personhood in Latino Newark (The University of Chicago Press, 2012; Frank Bonilla Book Award 2010-12). Ramos-Zayas is also co-author of Latino Crossings: Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and the Politics of Race and Citizenship (Routledge, 2003); co-editor of Critical Dialogues in Latinx Studies: A Handbook (NYU Press, in press); and co-editor of Whiteness in Latin America and the Caribbean (LACES, Latin American Studies Association, forthcoming). Ramos-Zayas’ ethnographic work aims to understand and disentangle systems of power and privilege at a variety of scales, ranging from U.S. imperial and white supremacist politics to how individuals and communities make sense of everyday forms of power and subordination. Issues of social justice and the intersection of intimate worlds, anthropology of affect, and political economy are fundamental concerns in her research. Her current research focuses on Latinx and Latin American “life coaches,” therapeutic social justice initiatives, and the cultural sociology of projects of the self.
Deepa has been a member of Ma-Yi Writers Lab since 2014 and is also a trained actor. She co-founded and ran Rising Circle Theater Collective (www.risingcircle.org) for 12 years (2000-2012), overseeing the development of over 20 plays by writers of color. When she’s not writing, she is a voice and speech coach for leaders working for educational equity in our country. She also trained as an actor and has appeared in TV and film. Education: MFA, Brooklyn College (Playwriting.) MPH, Columbia University (Health Promotion Disease Prevention. BA, Northwestern University (History, African Studies). Deepa currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son and works as a communications coach for executive leaders in education. Playwriting credits include: The In Between w/NAATCO (dir. Aya Ogawa), slated for production in June 2022 in NYC. Mothering: A collection of short form works for performance. Elyria: in partnership with Ma-Yi Theatre Company: 2018 Recipient of NEA ArtWorks Grant & 2018 Jerome Foundation Grant for research, 2018 SPACE on Ryder Farm two-week residency. Crushed Earth: 2017 Recipient of New Play Frontiers Residency and Commission at People’s Light Theatre – co-written w/Sanjit De Silva. M xx – perience (in development) The Wake: 2017 Ma-Yi Writers Lab/Andrew W. Mellon Creative Fellowship Residency at the University of Washington, Ma-Yi Writers Lab Fest 2015. A Valentine: 2017 Kilroys Honorable Mention, Ma-Yi Writers Lab Fest 2017. Have Sari. Will Travel! : Rising Circle’s June 2017 Refinery Workshop, 2016 Lilly Awards Foundation Family Residency at SPACE on Ryder Farm. Flight: Developed in 2011with Rising Circle Theater Collective’s 2011 InkTANK PlayLab. Short plays: LotusMart, Ohio (Desipina Productions 2003), Exiled (2001). Writing w/Sanjit De Silva and Rising Circle: Grace (2010), The American Family Project (2007), Pulling the Lever (2004, Published in Plays and Playwrights 2006, 2004 NYIT Award for Best Ensemble).