Reflecting on Race and Racism through Spoken Word, Story, and Conversation
This series of four literary events features local poets presenting their work to King County employees to generate discussion and understanding of issues of race and social justice. The events are scheduled in January, April, June, and September 2016.
Sept. 13, 2016
Kiana Davis and Djenanway Se-Gahon are the final poets in our “Reflecting on Race and Racism through Spoken Word, Story and Conversation” series for 2016. Their readings occurred on Sept. 13, 2016 at the King County Public Health facility in Bellevue.
Djenanway Se-Gajon believes that “sharing and exploring the diversity of experiences and backgrounds is vital in cultivating a loving and understanding community.” Djenanway performs at talent shows hosted by the Black Student Union at her university and has also performed at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center. She is collaborating with a professor on a social justice project that advocates for restorative rather than punitive justice.
Kiana Davis teaches workshops to at-risk youth on Social Justice through Poetry. Kiana grew up in poverty, attended failing schools, and writes that “from an early age she has witnessed and endured the disparities of systematic oppression.” Poetry empowered her to find her voice and share her story as a young black girl in America. Kiana Davis is the author of Digging for Roots and From these Roots Up.
Shin Yu Pai is the author of eight books of poetry. Her work has appeared in publications throughout the U.S., Japan, China, Taiwan, The United Kingdom, and Canada. She has been a featured presenter at national and international literary festivals including the Geraldine Dodge Poetry Festival and the Montreal Zen Poetry Festival. She was a Stranger Genius Nominee in Literature.
Anis Gisele is a queer, immigrant (from Manila, Philippines) person of color who learned to value all her selves through spoken word. Her poetry draws together personal narrative, intergenerational pain, and identity politics. Her writing has been published in Salon, The Feminist Wire, and Black Girl Dangerous. She works as a writing coach for high school students with learning differences and volunteers as a creative writing instructor in the women’s prison.
April 7, 2016
Troy Osaki writes to honor his family’s history of community activism with the Japanese American and Filipino American communities. Troy won the 2012 Youth Speaks Seattle and University of Washington Poetry Grand Slam, and in 2015 he was Rain City Slam Poetry Champion. He attends Seattle University Law School and facilitates monthly legal presentations at King County Youth Detention.
Hamda Yusuf is a Somali Muslim woman who turned to storytelling to find her voice. She began writing about the Islamophobia she faced playing soccer with a headscarf. She began performing at Youth Speaks and won the Grand Slam in 2013. She was invited to speak at TEDxRainier and received a fellowship in 2014 to go to Wales. She is also a 2016 Fulbright fellowship winner.
January 12, 2016
Quenton Baker is a poet, teacher, and former hip-hop artist from Seattle with an MFA in Poetry from the University of Southern Maine and a Creative Writing BA from Seattle University. His chapbook Diglossic in the Second America is available from Punch Press.
Casandra Lopez has an MFA from the University of New Mexico. Her poetry chapbook Where Bullet Breaks was published by the Sequoyah National Research Center. She is a founding editor of the literary journal As/Us: A Space For Women Of The World .