Storytelling as Advocacy in the Beloved Community
A Room of One's Own is thrilled to host a panel discussion with local community members Tegan Nia Swanson, Jessica Williams, Angie Trudell Vasquez, Virginia Gittens Escudero, on the intersections of advocacy, change, activism, and storytelling. Tegan's newly released book Things We Found When the Water Went Down will help guide and ground the discussion.
This event is also a fundraiser for UNIDOS and Freedom Inc. On May 18th, 10% of all online and in store purchases will go to the organizations!
This is an in person event at A Room of One's Own.
Tegan Nia Swanson is an advocate, educator, artist, gardener, and UU-Buddhist, most at home while in or near large bodies of water, or walking under the canopies of many trees. Things We Found When the Water Went Down is her first novel.
Jessica Williams is the director of Gender Justice at Freedom Inc. Jessica's domestic violence work is catered toward and culturally specific to the black community. Born in Columbus, Mississippi and raised in Sierra Vista, Arizona Jessica has been in Madison since 2012. Prior to her work with Freedom Inc. Jessica got a degree in Microbiology. She later worked as a Chemical Safety Specialist with UW Madison. She is experienced as an educator after teaching abroad for 2 years. She is an avid traveler and has worked towards creating housing and worker cooperatives here in Madison Wisconsin. During her time in Madison she became increasingly aware of the racial disparities that exist in the city. After a string of high profile deaths of black teens at the hands of police she became actively involved in local movements and community organizing.
Angela (Angie) Trudell Vasquez is a poet, writer, editor, publisher, and activist. She is the current City of Madison Poet Laureate (2020-2024) and the first Latina to hold the position. Angie received her MFA in poetry from the Institute of American Indian Arts in 2017. Recently, her poems have appeared in The Slow Down, Yellow Medicine Review, Poem-a-Day, About Place Journal and in several anthologies. She has poems on the Poetry Foundation’s website and was a Ruth Lilly Fellow while at Drake University. Finishing Line Press published her fourth collection of poetry, My People Redux, in January 2022. Active nationally too, she has read poems, been a panelist, and presented at Split This Rock and AWP. In the summer of 2021, she became a Macondo Fellow or a Macondista. Current Chair of the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission, she helps select the state poet laureate. (angietrudellvasquez.com & artnightbooks.com)
Virginia Gittens Escudero is the Executive Director at UNIDOS of Wisconsin, a non-profit organization in Madison that provides advocacy, support, referral and information to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking who identified as Latinx. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Law and Political Sciences from the University of Panama. Before joining UNIDOS, Virginia worked for approximately seven years at the Legal Advocacy Program at Domestic Abuse Intervention Services where she provided legal advocacy, support, and court accompaniment to victims of domestic violence in Dane County.