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tv   Author Discussion on Political and Social Activism  CSPAN  November 26, 2021 4:35pm-5:29pm EST

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comes from these television companies and mark including comcast. comcast is partnering with community centers to create wi-fi enabled students from low income families can get connection they need for anything pretty comcast come along with these television companies supports "c-span2" is a public service. book tvs coverage of the boston book festival continues. >> welcome everybody, we are so excited to have you today joining us the boston book festival. i am hosting this amazing conversation around the revolution and resistance and lucky to be joined by incredible authors today and over the the stories and how they came to writing their books and generally be able to dive into this whole idea of activism in
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the world and so i would personally like to welcome all four of you, thank you so much for being here it is incredible to be able to have conversations with you after reading and reading through your amazing books and am actually going to start a conversation today with tesla so let me start by introducing you to the group, speaker educator and award-winning author. today will be discussing her book revolutionary times which we just found out a finalist in the national book awards and for small congratulations. >> thank you very much, i'm excited. >> we love that in this wonderful and i personally feel like that murdered so much much from this book and i really appreciate that you made the notes in the beginning about the word black and if you like this is history that a lot of us think that we know but we don't
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always know and death and going start with this book with the revolution in the hands of the young. do you thank you so more true today than it was before. >> i should go because it's always been true and to save it is very true now, but is very true in the basso reason that we don't get is for the best because we see history we tended to see or speak about than adults are member growing up and learning about martin luther king who was by way only in his 20s and 30s when he is doing his ministry. and then there was malcom x so i think a slight mischaracterization of it. it was always the younger people in the black power movement in the median age was 19, and a lot of students part of the movement and schools were the younger
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children in the goal was to inspire the next generation to take power into their own hands really change the world to be what they wanted to be and what it should be and so i think it's always been people leaving the movement and the grown-ups get to kind of erase the contributions and try to act like i was a case because it's always been the youngsters trying to take of the establishment and created change in our country and in our world. >> absolutely and i think that so often when we have conversations about the black panthers and such incredible contributions left out. if men protecting the community and education and i think that all that really you thought that through the book beautifully one of the things that really resonated with me was written on fear that really hit me on the chest i thought a lot about those readings so anything that
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fear shows up in his weapon eyes in today's present day pretty. >> absolutely, talking about then you have this equation of the black-and-white intercountry and personally, is more complicated than that need try to think about the foundation of what causes all that are racial challenges in the underlying foundation so you have white people historically who have thought to create the fear and others who have acted in a way that we would remain afraid they would make it challenging in many ways of against the powers to be treated and why people historically have been very fearful of what hapgood happen if truly quality work possible. they feel empowered and the fear all manner of things that are rather blown out of proportion.
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there's a cycle and so for me i think but the panthers did, with a lot of activists are doing is trying to say that one to stand up and be courageous and going to keep the self-determination powerpoint say we deserve this like everybody else, we deserve its opportunities and if we deserve food and we deserve jobs in all of these things that white people have been taking for granted for all of this time. and there's fear both sides involving a people confronting their fear of the quality and their fears of bodily harm and injury in fear of change in southern 70 assets to that. >> even talked about how difficult it was his young protesters and for the black panthers because the risk was death at the time and
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confronting that fear and conceptualizing it is found outside really interesting very much provoke my own thinking, not just one-sided, not just white people who do something of the fear of losing power but also the fear of defeat and death for anything that could happen in one thing that i wanted to ask you actually, i read that is kind of over a decade of writing and research to bring this masterpiece together thing that really comes through and how in-depth this is. as you are writing and researches in this book, sure you were learning things as well with anything this price you pretty. >> so many things really, kind of foot draws me to write about this material south my own education is young person was
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about black history and change in american history broadly speaking. i felt like i was possibly discover new things and wearing the stories are also surprised and overwhelmed sometimes, frankly angry that i don't know for that history and stories and they were deliberately erased and hidden and buried beneath kind of a patriotic hail of how we sought independence and made this country the greatest in the world and whatnot and we managed to sweep under the rug elevate chaos that is been going on this entire time. it is not like a single story was particularly exciting but one of the things consistently surprising to me is how throughout the ministry it's
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always been the black people. and protestants not always that we shall overcome holding hands and peaceful nonviolent resistance that we tend to hold up and celebrate and return try to mark in history there been people who have risen up in self-defense and this is a story were hidden from for me as i looked through the history the first rival of enslaved people to the continent, after the movement and then beyond to where we are today, and every major movement in history, during that assignment and revolution and during the war, there's always been a movement of people who say they were not just going to buy it be afraid we are going to stand up and fight for our rights or whatever with it looks like. >> talk about panthers, self-defense and arm themselves legally with weapons that would
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protect the communities etc. and that was not a new idea in 1966, i think the people don't want to be aware of that are recognize how much pain-and-suffering that black people of gone through up into that point that we want to stand in self-defense. >> absolutely nothing can interesting think that i picked up was the complexity and diversity and even within the black panthers from as i like everybody had these ideals and perspectives for their work variety of really diverse being able to relate to different people and how they were thinking about this was really incredible is her particular figure from this history that you identify this personally and really connected with. >> there are so many.
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why think about the black panther party itself, it's almost an entity with a personality and a voice rather than a hearing to one per dealer person and decision. i particularly love the whole narrative and focus on education and the school oakland and community school for many years and was a political prisoner for a period of time and you could tell the whole story the panthers through the lens of one particular person at just what i decided not to do but she - from the civil rights organizing and kim talked about the leaders of the party and went through a lot of the planters are known for. the protest education a and
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service programs and for period of time the political prisoner etc. and she said somebody, talking about one panther. [inaudible]. it would give you a sense of the whole movement but what i love is that not just one idea that we all believe the exact same thing in sort of preach these, we are going into have dynamic conversations and there's one of the nuances and we are going to move forward and really powerful and passionate to weigh in this entirely opposite of how street tend to be taught, we tend to want to find specific solutions and want to boil things down. but the mentors were in the newspaper every single week and all kinds of things because the new is more complicated than a single byline predict. >> absolutely and i think that you said a lot of things really
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resonated and even when you talk about a lot of the black panthers most notable figures in your book for the men bringing up the diversity and tension that it brings in the discourse, think that came through so strongly in your book. so i really appreciate you being here today and talking us through this in your perspective and help writing it and congratulations again and am so excited for you know the national book award finalist. you must be so proud pretty. >> take a look, here's a look and go and find it, and i am sure that you will enjoy it as much as i have so thank you so so much and we appreciated pretty. >> thank you is wonderful to get a chance to chat with you today predict. >> let's keep moving right along shall wait so next up we have a designer activist and author is
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mobilizing change for social impact. and will be discussing this today and the relationship between activism and so how are you doing pretty. >> i'm doing well and thank you so much for having me pretty. >> we are so excited to have you here so is whether this book i really loved the personal stories of these women for the reader to examine how they took these actions and i feel you covered so much creative grounds and is a creative myself, there are things that i enjoyed like even the section on like the difference and so i wanted to start with the term, part of his ten what is a mean and how did you personally figure out that was the social justice field. >> that is simply art and
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activist, art your activist and activist who are having hard to amplify their causes. in my journey i started very young with organizing in high school and a lot of it was because of hurricane katrina and then when i was a freshman in college, is going on down south and there was a mentor of mine back then who called himself and a man and i was like will am going to merge words together as well read and i discovered this other chairman in 2014 when my region income i live in st. louis at the time, the uprising it happened, i started to organize other artist to be in the ground day in and day out with the people making art is a mucin educator we card ourselves this name as a collective.
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>> and as a writer of into the idea of creating new words and finding new territories of something that speaks to the needed i think think some of the art they came out of it is really beautiful printed in a way to express to express a heartbreaking time to identify this idea as translating that into art, the name is artivist one of my questions for you is when did you first kind of encounter protest art if you lie it was something that resonated with you. >> yes in my youth to my group in memphis so going to the civil rights museum in that city and seeing posted murals in the city of people marching up with the signs and tapping into that part of the civil rights movement was my first like encounter but when
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creating art myself it was as if a high school in painting on canvas is these moments of people to sit in a neat enter and getting english, just for the rights that they wanted and then as an organizer, i was toys like the student who would be subversive do stuff like i was a big gorilla artist in my youth and when i started to organize and ferguson, that just really manifested into discovering and understanding all of the ways in which people across the world have had this as their practice for so long. aggressive social movements and so that became i would say he most recent encounter. and in my own work, a lot of it really started to come into fruition in terms of my own
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voice with the casket project which had such ruthless nutrition of this book. >> tell us a little bit about this i know you get into it in the beginning of your book but little taste reviewers, what it is now it came to be. >> this measures into the book, chapter one and it was a collective work of art making from it series of nightmares that i was having after having the police in my face and being teargas limits of the protest and risk of having this image of a man carrying a casket made out of mirrors and shared that with other artist and slow during the whole like some artist help me build it and some help me activate it and it became an
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artifact and work is in school that was utilized across different marches in the region. that piece was ultimately collected by the smithsonian and angela davis wrote an article in one of their issues in a magazine that was titled, the artist protest and so that title is directly connected to this book. >> absolutely that was so to hear about the process and generating something that came to you in a nightmare and turning it into this beautiful piece of art i think that we don't realize how ingrained the protest art is in our culture for the longest time, you explain it so much in your book, gorilla ours and activism which i had not really been aware of before, and i think more familiar versions of protest art for me was cartoons rated but
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i'm just generally interested to know that is there a piece of protest art in the world than just into the chest, is stuck with you over time and really defines the genre. >> there are a few to be honest. so used to be a huge fan of an artist and came to gun violence, i really admired and appreciated the ways that he could take a tool that is utilized for violence and transform that is something that is utilized for healing environments and so he would melt down guns and then turn them into shovels and people would plant gardens with the shovels in his work as always just hit me. another visual artist who works to do that in a way with he
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finds different materials that are related to different social movements like backpacks and thinking about violence and school violence and thinking about shoes and loss of life through the things that remain. >> you brought up music. pretty. >> that is that person for me, with poetry. audrey - there's so many hip-hop songs as well think back to like early 90s like i was a big tupac fan and and it just resonates so much with me in the fuel my practice like the stuff that i listen to what i making art. and what i was writing this book, those of the things that i consumed in order to produce it. >> absolutely and is so ingrained in our culture and way
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that i almost did not realize how much of it was and how much we use these mediums since the beginning of time even with like spirituals like it's toys been a part of who we are to really appreciate it and i think that there's something interesting happening now read with the introduction of technology and the way the world works now the way that we can share ideas. anything that technology has impacted the way in the protesters have consumed in our society, do you think it helped hurt. >> i think that it is both like even thinking back to my moderate month into my attorney come in 20, so many people learned about things through twitter and facebook and watching in the street and crying over her son and i think that there is an element that
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comes through technology because people feel like they've done the work by just sharing a poster reposting something or tweeting and there's so much more that has to be done in order to really move us towards liberation. but i do think that our cell phones and our devices are social media platforms, they are tools for amplifying the work that is being done on the ground and for providing different entry points for people to learn about what the issue is and how they can be involved in creatively, there's ways in which we can diversify our expressions about the problem and solutions in our ultimate vision of deliberation. >> i hear you on all of this, i really do and i agree, it changes the way that we interact with each other and share information and change of the way that we do and share art and it comes to the global nature of
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it read. >> in my book, she is not an american continent i bring an example from south africa and from other areas and from france and all of these spaces. in many ways technology allows us to do that more because the globalization of black lives matters, the globalization of the ways in which we think about evolution now, like these are manifesting across spaces and technology is helping us. >> it is and i think that you mentioned the global nature of it which i really enjoyed what you said and even learning about the - in hong kong which was really special and i think just your perspective throughout this book in the art of this and a lot of people are trying to figure this out and what activism needs to them and how they fit into it. i appreciate the way that you brought this together and your
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perspective when it comes to protest and activism. so thank you so so much and again, being able, we are so lucky to have you and thank you for bringing some color to this pun intended. thank you again as such an honor to look at your perspective in your experience. >> thank you for having me. >> we are halfway through the next up we have crystal who is a professor of african studies and as an educator researchers sociologist she created rise up and how you can join the fight against white supremacy and we are so happy to have her here today. >> thank you so much for having me in a really excited to be part of this conversation.
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>> i want to say that i very much appreciate the way that language can be so relatable especially for young people and i don't think that it feels like - i have not met you and i felt like i can almost hear your voice and it was almost like a conversation. ...
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and we planned for the book to be done at some point in early 2020 and then 2020 happened and i was i guess supposed to be transparent brother rioters -- writers and part of it was checking in with myself to be honest like dealing with the onset of the pandemic and also just reeling from the depths of breonna taylor and ahmaud arbery and on and on. i had to be honest and say it's not going to be done and it's going to have to stay. so for me anyway speaking for myself that's not always easy because sometimes whether it's the burden often on my shoulders
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as they black women and the burdens i put on myself and on my own children it can be hard to say you know what i have limits. part of my process is taking more time to write it and i'm grateful not only that the publisher was flexible in that way but also i'm grateful that i have even if it was painful the opportunity to reflect on and integrate the events of 2020s of covid-19 and the impact on black folks and indigenous people and people of color in the protests of the last year the larger mask protest movement in u.s. history and maybe even globally and even the january 6 insurrection. all of that is covered in this book and it was a process that
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required a lot of self-care and attention to the impact. one of the terms that i teach my students about, my graduate students who work on a whole lot of things about racism is about promise that we have the trauma that we experience in our lives whether personalized or collective trauma and then we also have the trauma when you think about the impact of watching especially for youth but all of us watching on smartphones or computer screens the impact of having watch george floyd being lynched for over eight minutes. over and over, right so the trauma that comes from being exposed to what's happening to other people particularly in
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your community if you are black or person of color. it has been and still continued to be a important part of the process. >> absolutely and i'm very grateful for your honesty because i feel like that's a conversation that is come up more and more in the last two years especially with the black lives matter movement and this idea of self-care when you turn it off and how much do you want to consume and how do you care for yourself and understanding that you need some space. i feel like it's a constant struggle of our culture and our community so hearing that is baked into your process i really appreciate that. >> i just want to make sure we are acknowledging self-care
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oftentimes gets framed as what we do as an individual to take care of ourselves. we know there are structural impediments to care and well-being and members are historically violated so where does dealing with what can i do it's also community care and strategizing around how can we take care of each other and take care of ourselves. >> absolutely. one thing you talk about in your book were the five steps to creating antiracist building relationships speaking up against racist ideas and behaviors supporting justice and getting political. i really have to take some time to thank all of those who are
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active in this but in your findings what do you find often the most difficult or involved in what is usually a barrier? >> well i don't know but the general reaction to thinking about our learning about systemic racism may be really are the first time in a structured way but oftentimes people who haven't really dealt into the history underestimate how much progress of work is necessary to continue the intergenerational struggles against the question and that is the kind of magical thinking which is something i try to educate youth about but also adults as well and magically thinking that racism is going to
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disappear or that can be addressed or if you think you are the person or the myth that is just going to die out with this next-generation. >> you hear that a lot. >> would the to try to do is write up to see that youth are currently being targeted by bias and in some cases youth are enacting racism. youth are not hermetically protected from the forces including the culture of racism and white supremacy that we are all swimming in and some drumming and so we have to be honest about how we are are ready being impacted. this generation and the coming generations are already being impacted by white supremacy and
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what i try to do in the book is highlight how some youth are involved now and have been historically but have been historically involved in challenging white supremacy and still are. we were talking about the youth council and their role in standing rock in thinking about the work of youth who are standing up against indigenous mascots today and the stories that i tell in the book. even right now a lot of people are familiar with the attacks on antiracist education and you may not know and you probably don't know and what some might not know is youth are playing a huge role in protesting on a local level and demanding the truth
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about our history be fought -- taught and they are making an impact and they have been making an impact for generations. >> absolutely and it plays a massive role and has been. as we are coming up against time i want to ask you one final question. in your lucky refer to hope as a disciplined actually. can you tell us a little bit about that and what you see moving forward? >> absolutely. i learn a lot on an almost daily aces about it activist named miriam kava and her book is just amazing and i recommend everyone read it but want anything she writes about in talks about often is discipline and when you
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experience racism and oppression you have to find support in order to challenge the conditions and create the kind of change we would like to see and so for me actually her influence on me years ago, had an opportunity to meet her in and when i wasn't feeling hopeful about our politics and she said crystal you are an educator so you have to be inspired by your students, right? it's true. >> that's what i hope comes through in my book voiceover systems that you are really at the center of. >> that comes through barry clearly in your book. crystal thank you for being with us and thank you for sharing
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this beautiful piece of writing with us. i really appreciate hearing your perspective so thank you. >> thanks for having me. we are moving right along to the last author who you are very lucky to speak with today. jamia wilson of feminist activist writer and speaker. welcome to the party. how are you doing? you are underneath my friend. >> hi thanks for having me. >> we are so happy to have you today. right off the bat i want to note when you talk about the stereotyping you hear around the word feminist and feminism i kind of want to start there. tell us about that because i think several people have had the similar experience. >> i wrote about the name game
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and chapter 2 of my book the idea so much focus is put on the word specifically unless on the value behind it, the values that are driving our shared goals. i also wanted to talk about the history and talk about how we have come to understand feminism and the popular consciousness and what kind of feminism and its feminism specifically has been overrepresented in left out of the conversation and for the emergence of feminism as a moniker for gender justice and for equality but also a timeline between that and also the specific communities and their
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relationship to justice and relationships for equality. i try to put it all together but also to talk about some people feel the need to distance themselves from a name instead of asked the question as what we think about feminism as any other theoretical experience or mindset and something that's ever evolving and if we think about what feminism is and how we can act it into being forces letting people who weren't behaving in feminist ways to keep us from claiming it. >> exactly, exactly. i think what you were saying about this idea of
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intercessionality, there's always a lingering question for me as well and trying to figure out feminism. it's like who's version of feminism is this? intersectionality is a word that gets thrown around a lot but i think we are still grappling with it in terms of society so what does it mean to you and why is it so important in this conversation? >> i'm really glad you brought that up and i think it's important because intersectionality now is being brought up more often and oftentimes the meaning and origins are misunderstood or misconstrued depending on who's talking about it and in the book i mention of black lawyer who describes interconnect did social organizations and how
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race class and gender and other parts of our experience and our identity how they apply in groups or individual in discrimination or relationships to power and privilege depending on the relationship. i have a visualization by amelia who is an amazing french artist and a feminist in paris he did a visualization of the book in addition to other beautiful illustrations of the different kinds of intersectionality you can have including nationality, mental health, health specifically, language immigration status just so that we can give readers a sense of the overlapping of it. she did such a beautiful job of that. >> i would be remiss if we didn't shout out her work here.
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her illustrations have been so beautiful and captivating so i just really wanted to give her a shout-out on that and add this dynamic layer to it. one thing i want to talk to you about was your feminist stigma as you call it. when did that happen for you and what did it stir in you? >> i was thinking about it personally for me and i feel like every day i start to get other moments and for a long time i thought it was a black lives matter moment and then i think of other things that happened before that i wasn't quite sure so i say that to say
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sometimes i think we have a sense of what we believe are where we want to be or how we think about others and maybe we turn away from the things that are essential to ourselves as a function of these power imbalances in the present. so i had my moment officially which was my ah-hah moment when i was watching professor anita hill testified before the judiciary committee in 1991 and i learned from her then, that was the black feminist. >> absolutely was. >> thinking about now we are still talking about what she did and how she paved the way and how it took so long for people who did her wrong who were supposed to be on the side of justice to apologize for what
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she endured as well and her courage in the face of that injustice and also multiple generations of black women and some of the black men in my family who are the same kind of people that they would support black lives matter and yet only some black lives matter in the context of her because they thought it was necessary and what it took for the black family and supporting the black man even if it meant he didn't support the values of policies that would support the community. that disconnect was the moment that it was also a men in my family that i couldn't get feminist because only white women were that.
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that led me to want to be educated about what i knew in my bones was true. that was really the moment or that was the moment that i realized my version of liberation in the paradigm that would leave me suffering or in trauma and somebody else to feel empowered and i was able to learn many layers of over time. >> there's nothing like telling of budding feminist who she can and cannot be and you were right on the papini to be. you shared so much of yourself in this book and i very much identify with a lot of the stories and i feel like it reflects some of my own experience and people who feel
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the same. he talked about your rhetoric unintentionally passed down through generations in your relationships and all sorts of things. how did you process this vulnerability as you are writing? >> thank you. that's a very good question. i think about some of that sometimes and i hear from people who see themselves in it and i feel a bit more free every time. i wish that i felt that way when i was writing. it moments i felt ashamed thinking this person is going to be mad at me because i'm speaking of my experiences and since we are talking about literature there's a poem and it's a really short palm polmann
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it's really beautiful where she says they want you to remember your memories and i keep on remembering mine and so there was that vulnerability that made me a little bit nervous and talking about family things that happen in things that happen in school and people that i still have a relationship with and in some cases it involves my parents specifically for myself i would change the names or something like that but i felt like it was healing and if i was going to talk about the feminism i was going to tell the truth. i think that's a really big part of liberation in general. i couldn't come to this book and tell people you're feminism needs to evolve and you have a contradiction when you stand in
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contradiction when you say what you want in the world and we need to say let me tell you about this thing that i did read this feeling that i bring her this time when i experienced harassment or a witnessed someone that -- i wanted there to be the humanity of that experience and all of the things that come with it in hopes that others would feel that they were not alone. >> absolutely. that commitment to truth and honesty is what makes this book so captivating and so relatable for so many people because there's no such thing as a perfect feminist. there's no such thing as a perfect activist so i think you and your exploration of your experiences and your
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vulnerabilities them the way you process good or bad really makes for dynamic reading that a lot of young people especially will relate to. there's one thing i want to ask about as we wrap up there were a lot of reflective moments and calls to action in the book that forces the reader to ask questions in our question today, what would be your call to action for the reader if you are starting with the idea of feminism and what would you challenge them to do? >> thank you. that's such a good question. one of the questions i like it came from my own life and i tried to ask questions and journals from my own life is a
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question of what is it that you want to talk about, what is it that you haven't talked about with someone from another generation about your views on them innocent or justice or equality or whatever the word is for you because i also believe i'm not one who's going to prescribe to you can't label yourself a feminist and if you do work too -- i consider you part of the feminist family. the question is what is the conversation been holding inside herself whether shame anxiety or discomfort that you want to have a conversation with someone not of your generation about and thinking about that conversation what it would mean to have it and i wrote that it has i felt so many times i would hear
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people talk past each other or patted each other rather than have one bug party where we would have it out and talk about our issues because of what i've witnessed over time is there a feminist as young as 10 and as old as 92 is that we actually have a lot of the same values and ideas about what we want to happen and we certainly have a lot of similar root issues that we have been dealing with over and over again. sometimes we have different areas of change and what would it be like to have this conversation so there's a question you would want to talk to your mom about or your dad or your parents or your grandparents or a teacher or another trusted adult or intern if you are an adult or grandparent and they are something you want to say to the
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next generation that you feel uncomfortable about interrogate that for yourself and then have that conversation and one of the things i really like annella to say in my day job i'm an editor and i reached out to them because i love the work they are doing a tik tok and one of the things i said to them was i think i met progressive person per se. the word has become very charged depending on who's saying it but i consider myself someone who tries to -- and i have my moments of contradiction but you have me holding my pearls on tik tok and i said i'm feeling all kinds of ways and that's exactly why want to work with you so i asked myself that question and it made me think this is the kind of young person i want to work with because they have got
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me thinking and they have got me realizing there's a lot of evolution that i need to have. we had a really good conversation about that and i just think that's what's needed so i would like for everyone to think about what that conversation is because when you look at yourself it will show you where you need to grow and you may meet people that you want to talk to an unexpected places. >> unexpected places is something we overlook quite often but this idea of asking the right questions and having conversations with people that you've never had conversations with before. i very much appreciate your time today and i am someone who am constantly questioning my own feminism so being able to look at your experience with feminism is really valuable. we appreciate you being here. thank you so much. i want to invite everyone back.
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we we are at the end of our time i want everybody to look at these incredible books one more time but am so appreciative of all of you being here and sharing your perspective and your experiences as a writer and stories about being vulnerable and to have dialogue and it's something very special in needed at this time so thanks for each and every one of you for all the work you've contributed. it's really special so we appreciate that. >> think you again for having all of us. learning about these people's stories with their books, thank you. >> absolutely and everyone has such a unique perspective and these thoughts are going to provoke a lot of things in our reader so we appreciate

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