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Artists and Speakers

Keynote Speaker: Aishah Shahidah Simmons

AfroLez®femcentric Perspectives on Race, Gender, and Sexuality

Aishah Shahidah Simmons is an award-winning Black feminist lesbian documentary filmmaker, activist, cultural worker, writer, and international lecturer. An incest and rape survivor, she created the Ford Foundation-funded, internationally acclaimed, and award-winning feature length film NO! The Rape Documentary. Alice Walker, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple, says, “If the Black community in the Americas and in the world would save itself, it must complete the work that [NO!] begins.”

Featured Speakers

Jamila Hammami

Jamila is a queer, non-binary first­ generation Tunisian­ Arab-American person of color community organizer and social worker from the south, now based in NYC. As a long-time organizer, they are a founder and executive director of the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project. Jamila founded it in 2014, and has worked with LGBTQI/ HIV+ immigrants in detention and post- detention. They have specifically worked on service provision, program development, organizing, advocacy, and policy around the realities of detention and violent xenophobic policies, while uplifting the voices of LGBTQI immigrants that were previously detained through the podcast Queering Immigration. Jamila is also a member of the The Stonewall Foundation’s Levin-Goffe Committee, a scholarship program.

Kavi Ade

Kavi is a full-time performance poet and teaching artist who tours colleges, universities, and conferences across the United States, performing original poems, giving speeches, leading writing and performance workshops, and speaking on panels. Kavi's work centers on identity and social justice; as a Black Transgender Queer person, Kavi bridges the intersections of personal and political identity, performing poems that focus on a range of topics such as street harassment, sexuality, class, gender, race, ability, love, relationships, grief, and hope. 

Taina Asili

Taina performed for almost a million people at The Women’s March on Washington, alongside activists such as Angela Davis, Janet Mock, and Gloria Steinem, and artists such as Alicia Keys and Janelle Monae. In April, she spoke and performed at TEDx Greenville, performing her acclaimed song “Freedom,” addressing issues of mass incarceration and state violence. Her music has been aired many times on Democracy Now!; Billboard Magazine featured her in a list of “11 Songs of Protest & Resistance by Latino Artists,” and The Huffington Post named her as #2 in a list of in a list of “12 Freedom Fighting Bands To Get You Through the Trump Years.” Her most recent music video, “No Es Mi Presidente,” which she wrote and directed, was premiered in Rolling Stone and received national acclaim.


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