Conversations in Color: Alicia Garza and Elizabeth Alexander

Created by the Amistad Research Center, Conversations in Color is a free public cultural series that features artists, educators, and community activists in talks about their work and its impact on social change.
Shaping Activists Movements through Cultural Narratives
The Amistad Research Center in partnership with Tulane University's Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Office for Gender and Sexual Diversity, and Newcomb College Institute will host Alicia Garza and Elizabeth Alexander in a conversation about the importance of developing and centering cultural narratives in sociopolitical activism.
About Our Presenters:
Elizabeth Alexander is the author of six books of poetry, including American Sublime, a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize; two collections of essays; and The Light of the World, her critically acclaimed memoir on love and loss. Her writing explores such subjects as race, gender, politics, art, and history. Among her acclaimed essays, “‘Can You Be BLACK and Look at This?’: Reading the Rodney King Video(s)” and “Meditations on ‘Mecca’: Gwendolyn Brooks and the Responsibilities of the Black Poet” have enlivened debate on the role of art and social justice and addressed issues of race, representation, violence, and the vulnerable black body. In 2009, she wrote and delivered her poem “Praise Song for the Day” for President Barack Obama’s first inauguration.
Elizabeth has taught with distinction at the University of Chicago, where she won the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching; New York University, in the graduate creative writing program; and Smith College, where she was Grace Hazard Conkling Poet in Residence and director of the Poetry Center. She was on the faculty of Yale University for 15 years and served as chair of Yale’s African American Studies Department. Elizabeth was recently named the Wun Tsun Tam Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University.
Alicia Garza is an Oakland-based organizer, writer, public speaker and freedom dreamer who is currently the Special Projects Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the nation’s leading voice for dignity and fairness for the millions of domestic workers in the United States. Garza, along with Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors, also co-founded the Black Lives Matter network, a globally recognized organizing project that focuses on combating anti-Black state-sanctioned violence and the oppression of all Black people.Since the rise of the BLM movement, Garza has become a powerful voice in the media. Her articles and interviews have been featured in Time, Mic, The Guardian,, Essence, Democracy Now!, and The New York Times.
In addition, her work has received numerous recognitions including being named on The Root’s 2016 list of 100 African American achievers and influencers, the 2016 Glamour Women of the Year Award, the 2016 Marie Claire New Guard Award, and as a Community Change Agent at the 2016 BET’s Black Girls Rock Awards.Most important, as a queer Black woman, Garza’s leadership and work challenge the misconception that only cisgender Black men encounter violence. While the tragic deaths of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown were catalysts for the emergence of the BLM movement, Garza is clear: In order to truly understand how devastating and widespread this type of violence is in Black America, we must view this epidemic through of a lens of race, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity.
About Our Partners:
The Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) and the Office for Gender and Sexual Diversity (OGSD), known together as THE O, serves as the hub of diverse cultural, social, and intellectual life at Tulane University. It is our mission to foster an open and vibrant learning environment that welcomes, respects, and appreciates the histories, traditions, and cultures of traditionally underrepresented student populations.
Newcomb College Institute (NCI) educates undergraduate women for leadership in the 21st century. We support women students' research initiatives, advocate for a gender-integrated curriculum, develop community engaged service-learning courses, promote student organizations for women, and bring women leaders to campus. NCI is funding this program through their Barnes & Noble fund.