Change starts with us and our families.
Racism is a difficult issue to discuss, especially within our own families. This Black History Month, we are honored to partner with the Leadership Conference Education Fund’s “Black Justice is Our Justice” campaign to host #LeadershipConvos 2, a conversation about teaching our kids to be leaders within our own families to combat anti-Blackness and racism.
Anti-Blackness is at the center of bigotry and xenophobia in America today. Fighting all forms of bigotry in this country demands that we combat anti-Blackness and reckon with our ongoing legacy of white supremacy.
Black Justice is Our Justice. Black Justice is Immigrant Justice. Black Justice is Asian American Justice.
Join us for an hour-long workshop with activists and artists who will share their perspective on how to raise AAPI kids to fight anti-Blackness. The first half will be a conversation with our activists and scholars in social justice who will lay the groundwork on why “Black Justice Is Our Justice” and anti-racist parenting. This will be followed by convening the artists with the activists to discuss their lived experiences raising AAPI kids, including celebrating Black History Month. Watch #LeadershipConvos 1 here.
Dr. SooJin Pate | Activist | Educator, writer and DEI consultant
Dr. SooJin Pate is an educator, writer, and DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) consultant dedicated to centering the lives and experiences of historically marginalized peoples. She received her PhD in American Studies at the University of Minnesota, minoring in African American and African Studies and specializing in comparative approaches to race and ethnic studies. An alumna of Howard University, SooJin received her MA in English, specializing in African American and Caribbean literatures. She’s taught courses on critical race theory, women of color feminism, African diasporic literatures, and U.S. history and culture at various colleges and universities in the Twin Cities area. She is the author of From Orphan to Adoptee: U.S. Empire and Genealogies of Korean Adoption (University of Minnesota Press) and was named Educator of the Year (2014) and Ally of the Year (2013) by Macalester College. She’s the co-host of the Antiracist Parenting Podcast and co-editor of the anthology-in-progress Ode to George: Reflections on George Floyd’s Memorial Site at 38th & Chicago.
Sanjit De Silva | Actor, writer, director, teacher
Sanjit De Silva is an Actor/Writer/Director/Teacher. He received his M.F.A. from New York University’s prestigious Graduate Acting Program. He wrote, starred and co-directed the short film Time After. He’s written four plays with Deepa Purohit, the latest, Crushed Earth, was commissioned by People’s Light and his TV pilot, Lankan, was developed at the Orchard Project Episodic Lab. Sanjit's various stage credits include: Broadway: War Horse (Tony-Award Best Play, Lincoln Center Theater). Off-Broadway: An Ordinary Muslim (NYTW, Dir. Jo Bonney), Troilus and Cressida (NYSF/Public Theater, Dir. Dan Sullivan), Dry Powder (World Premiere, Public Theater, Dir. Thomas Kail, starring John Krasinski and Claire Danes, Lucille Lortel and Outer Critic's Circle Award Nominations for Best Featured Actor), Awake and Sing (Public Theater/NAATCO) Sanjit has been in several films such as Afterparty, The Girl is in Trouble (produced by Spike Lee), The Company Men (with Ben Affleck and Tommy Lee Jones), and the critically acclaimed Arranged. His television credits include shows such as New Amsterdam, Evil, Tell Me A Story, Y: The Last Man, Blindspot, Time After Time, Madam Secretary, Blacklist, Elementary, High Maintenance, Homeland, Blue Bloods, The Good Wife. He is an Adjunct Professor at the College of Performing Arts at The New School. www.silvadollarfilms.com
Melissa Beck | Reality show personality, and comedian
Melissa Beck (née Melissa Howard) is a reality show personality and comedian known for her time as the breakout cast member chosen as one of seven strangers on MTV’s pivotal series The Real World: New Orleans in 2000. Melissa’s most memorable moments included discussions on race and identity, as a half Black half Filipina woman, plus comedic relief. Following her time on the show, she was featured on other projects including Oxygen’s Girls Behaving Badly and Bravo’s Battle Of The Network Reality Stars while also maintaining a popular blog. She then shied away from the spotlight to focus on marriage to hardcore rock band Glassjaw’s Justin Beck, motherhood plus a conversion to Judaism. Melissa recently launched a podcast called Imperfect Strangers, coming full circle, where the premise of the show is getting to know a stranger. Each week the listeners get to know Melissa all over again as she gets to know her co-host. Melissa lives with her husband and three daughters in Long Island, NY.
Deepa Purohit | Playwright, co-founder of Rising Circle Theater Collective and educator
Deepa is a playwright and has been a member of Ma-Yi Writers Lab since 2014 and is also a trained actor. Deepa co-founded and ran Rising Circle Theater Collective (www.risingcircle.org) for 12 years (2000-2012), overseeing the development of over 20 plays by writers of color. When she’s not writing, she is a voice and speech coach for leaders working for educational equity in our country. She also trained as an actor and has appeared in TV and film. Education: Brooklyn College, MFA, Playwriting. MPH, Columbia University. BA, Northwestern University. Baltimore 1992 Teach For America alumnus. Writing: The In Between w/NAATCO (dir. Aya Ogawa), slated for 2022 in NYC. Elyria: 2018 Recipient of NEA ArtWorks Grant & 2018 Jerome Foundation Grant for research and development through Ma-Yi Theatre Company, 2018 SPACE on Ryder Farm two-week residency. Crushed Earth: 2017 Recipient of New Play Frontiers Residency and Commission at People’s Light Theatre – co-written w/Sanjit De Silva. M xx-perience (in development) Bones: 2017 Ma-Yi Writers Lab/Andrew W. Mellon Creative Fellowship Residency at the University of Washington, Ma-Yi Writers Lab Fest 2015. A Valentine: 2017 Kilroys Honorable Mention, Ma-Yi Writers Lab Fest 2017. Have Sari. Will Travel! : Rising Circle’s June 2017 Refinery Workshop, 2016 Lilly Awards Foundation Family Residency at SPACE on Ryder Farm. Flight: Developed in 2011with Rising Circle Theater Collective’s 2011 InkTANK PlayLab. Short plays: LotusMart, Ohio (Desipina Productions 2003), Exiled (2001). Writing w/Sanjit De Silva and Rising Circle: Grace (2010), The American Family Project (2007), Pulling the Lever (2004, Published in Plays and Playwrights 2006, 2004 NYIT Award for Best Ensemble). Deepa currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son and is working on a new inter-genre piece.
Deepa Iyer | Activist | Director of strategic initiatives, Building Movement Project
Deepa Iyer is a South Asian American activist, writer and mother. She is currently the Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Building Movement Project, the former executive director of South Asian Americans Leading Together, and the author of We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multiracial Future.
The Leadership Conference Education Fund’s “Black Justice is Our Justice” Project