How is everyone doing today? SAO is doing great… We had a pretty sweet turnout at our Asians in Academia panel where Professors Nguyen, Chakravorty, Lee, and Vollmer shared their stories with each other and with us. We were very thankful to have them and we hope that this is something we can do in the future!
As for upcoming events this week…
Tuesday, we have a performance by visiting Professor Isaburoh Hanayagi at 4:30 in the Lang Concert Hall.
Also on Tuesday, there will be a reading by Lynn Chandhok; a poet, alumnus, and author of The View from Zero Bridge at 7:30PM in Bond Memorial Hall.
We have a lecture from Jennifer 8 Lee; author of The Fortune Cookie Chronicles at 7PM in the Scheuer Room on Friday.
Saturday, we have have SPEAK OUT!, a fierce spoken word event with APIA women at 8PM in the Science Center room 101. Our performers are Heesun Lee, Sham-e-Ali Al-Jamil, and Leah Lakshmi.
Heesun Lee is a trans-racial adoptee, Korean-American, Christian rapper originally from Seoul, Korea but now lives in Staten Island, New York. She stands out in a hip-hop, a genre in which Asian Americans are largely underrepresented. She identifies as a Christian rapper and her songs weave real-life stories and positive messages together to give her audience encouragement and hope. Her inspirations come from gospel rap, spoken word, and politically conscious rap.
Sham-e-Ali Al-Jamil was born in Hyderabad, India and raised in both the UK and the US. She is a poet, a public interest lawyer and mother to one 6-year-old who is her inspiration. In 1997, she started a welfare rights program for survivors of family and intimate partner violence to challenge the devastating impact of “welfare reform” in NYC. From 1997-2003, the program provided free walk-in legal clinics at soup kitchens, food pantries, and domestic violence shelters throughout the city. She currently works at the Leeway Foundation in Philadelphia, PA. All along, poetry has been a daily part of her life. Her biggest influence was her late father, who loved Urdu poetry. Sham-e-Ali’s poetry has appeared in publications such as, SALT Journal, SAMAR, Roots & Culture Magazine, and Mizna and can be found in anthologies such as, Shattering the Stereotypes: Muslim Women Speak Out (Olive Branch Press, 2005), Living Islam Out Loud: American Muslim Women Speak (Beacon Press, 2005) and “Shout Out: Women of Color Respond to Violence” (Seal Press, 2008). Her poetry is motivated by her experiences and commitment to social justice and activist work. At the moment, her work as a poet explores the many manifestations “home” and homeland (imaginary or otherwise), partition in South Asia, oral history, multiple histories, war(s)and the war(s) against women of color, marginalization, alienation and isolation, as well as, love, family, loss and being a mother. She believes that art is a critical means to build community power, to organize, communicate stories and share experiences that can be sometimes be forgotten.
Leah Lakshmi is a queer Sri Lankan writer, performer and co-founder of Mangos With Chili, North America’s only national tour of queer and trans of color performing artists.