[VIRTUAL] Black Liberation and Protest: From Civil Rights to Black Trans Lives Matter

Amalia Dache’s and Ianne Fields Stewart’s headshots on black background with words"Black Liberation and Protest" on teal text boxThis Instagram Live conversation will focus on historic and contemporary Black activism. From the civil rights movement of the 1960s to the 2020 Black Trans Lives Matter protest, how has protest shaped the lives of Black Americans? Has protest always been seen as a right for Black people? How might Black activists organize to defend their First Amendment right to protest? Join us for a live conversation featuring Amalia Dache and Ianne Fields Stewart.

This virtual event is Part II in How Writers and Activists Can Safeguard Protest Rights, PEN America’s series of Instagram Live conversations created to raise awareness about how anti-protest proposals introduced around the country attempt to criminalize freedom of assembly and crack down on activists and the movement for racial justice. We aim to engage the literary community by mobilizing our writer allies and Members around free expression for all.


Tune into the Instagram Live on Tuesday April 13, 2021 at 1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT. If you tweet about the event, be sure to tag our Twitter handle @penamerica.


Amalia Dache headshotAmalia Dache (she/her/hers) is an Afro-Cuban American scholar and an assistant professor in the Higher Education Division at the University of Pennsylvania. Her experiences as a Cuban refugee and student traversing U.S. educational systems—among them urban K–12 schools, community college, state college, and a private research-intensive university—inform her research and professional activities. Dache’s major research areas are postcolonial geographic contexts of higher education, Afro-Latina/o/x studies, community and student resistance, and the college access experiences of African diasporic students and communities. She is lead editor of Rise Up! Activism as Education, published in 2019 by Michigan State University Press. Her most recent article, “Ferguson’s Black radical imagination and the scyborgs of community–student resistance,” appeared in The Review of Higher Education in 2019. Dache was named a 2020 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow for her project, “Mapping Public Housing and Urban Higher Education Accessibility and Enrollment in Philadelphia.”

Ianne Fields Stewart head shot

Ianne Fields Stewart (she/her/hers/they/them/theirs) is a Black, queer, lesbian, and nonbinary transfeminine New York-based storyteller working at the intersection of theater and activism. Their work and she are dedicated to interrupting the exclusivity of luxury by making things like entertainment, nourishment, and self-care accessible to the most marginalized in their community. In a world that is constantly traumatizing Black bodies, she believes that Black queer and trans people should have the space and time to center collective emotional, physical, and sensual pleasure.

In the summer of 2017, Stewart was selected out of over 500 applicants to be one of the 15 U.S. fellows for Humanity in Action’s 2017 John Lewis Fellowship. During this fellowship, Stewart studied and organized with contemporary and historic civil rights leaders in Atlanta, GA exploring the legacy of the civil rights movement and its roots in present-day social justice movements. Since then, Stewart has developed a cultural competency consulting and teaching artist practice, which spans from talkback facilitation to teaching artistry to community outreach and organizing. Spaces that have benefited from Stewart’s practice include the Alliance of Resident Theatres, Lincoln Center Theater, MCC Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Music Theatre Factory, New York City charter schools, and the Rose M. Singer Center on Rikers Island.

Stewart is also the founder of The Okra Project, which seeks to address the global crisis faced by Black trans people by bringing home-cooked, healthy, and culturally-specific meals and resources to Black trans people wherever they can reach them. The Okra Project gained immense prominence in June 2020 when the project announced the Nina Pop and Tony McDade Mental Health Recovery Funds, which supply Black trans people with free therapy with Black therapists. Stewart’s platform also substantially grew when she co-organized “Brooklyn Liberation: A Rally for Black Trans Lives” and delivered a speech in front of 15,000 people who gathered to march for Black lives.

Events in the Instagram Live Series

  • Part I: Is “Protest” a Bad Word? Policies Boom to Ban Protest in the 21st Century, April 8 at 1:30pm ET
  • Part II: Black Liberation and Protest: From Civil Rights to Black Trans Lives Matter, April 13 at 1pm ET
  • Part III: Indigenous American Activism in the 21st Century, April 22 at 1pm ET
  • Part IV: Writing as Protest: The Power of the Written/Spoken Word, April 29 at 1pm ET

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