02/12: Disability, Healing & Transformative Justice

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On Thursday, February 12th the Multicultural Student Center invites activist Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha for a day of personal expression, healing and inspiration.

3PM Workshop, MSC Classroom
Participants will write under-told, boundary-pushing, life saving stories from their bodies’ fierce wisdom and resilience, to create the deeply necessary stories we need to share the truths of how we’re keeping on living and the amazing lives we’re making. Space is limited! Secure your spot at msc.wisc.edu/register

7PM Performance & Talk-Back, MSC Lounge
Leah will share performance about queer femme of color survivorhood, transformative justice, and disability justice movement and radical healing.

Contact Chelsea O’Neil at chelsea.oneil@wisc.edu
for more information or to request accomodations.

Born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts, Leah is a graduate of the Eugene Lang College of the New School for Liberal Arts in New York City in 1997. Since 1998, Leah has performed spoken word throughout the United States, Canada, and Sri Lanka. In 2001, Leah founded browngirlworld in order to facilitate a safe poetry and performance space for queer and trans* people of color. Although the event was originally weekly, it soon became a larger biannual poetry festival that welcomed various artists to Toronto in collaboration with the Toronto Women’s Bookstore. In 2004, Leah began her teaching career as a writing instructor to queer, trans, and Two Spirit youth at Toronto’s Supporting our Youth Pink Ink program. That same year, she also co-founded the Asian Arts Freedom School with Gein Wong, another spoken word poet.

  Asian Arts Freedom School Promo

Two years later, Leah wrote and performed her first one-woman show titled Grown Woman Show and later that year, along with Cherry Galette, founded Mangos With Chili, a Bay-Area based performance cabaret that showcases the performance art of queer and trans people of color throughout North America. Since it’s founding, Mangos With Chilli has spotlighted the work of over 150 queer and trans* artists of color.

She entered into the world of publishing with a poetry book titled Consensual Genocide in 2006, a work that chronicled her experiences as a queer diasporic South-Asian woman confronting mixed racial identity journeys, childhood abuse, and femme rebellions. In 2012, Love Cake, one of her poetry collections, received the Lambda Literary Award, which recognizes and honors the best lesbian,gay, bisexual, and transgender books of the year. Her work has been published in many anthologies including Dear Sister, Letters Lived, Undoing Border Imperialism, Stay Solid, Persistence: Still Butch and Femme, Yes Means Yes, Visible: A Femmethology, Homelands, Colonize This , We Don’t Need Another Wave, Bitchfest, Without a Nest, Dangerous Families, Brazen Femme, Femme and a Girl’s Guide to Taking Over the World.

In 2010, Leah was named was named as one of the Feminist Press’ 40 under 40 Shaping the Future and is also a member of the 2013 Autostraddle Top 105. In 2014, she successfully organized the Healing Justice for Black Lives Matter initiative, raising $28,000. This year, she plans to release another book of poetry titled Bodymap and her first memoir Dirty River.

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