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The Black Life Matters Conference is free and open to all.
Hundreds of scholars, writers, artists, activists, policymakers and general community members are expected to attend the Black Life Matters Conference, to be held at the University of Arizona.
Co-sponsored by the UA Department of Gender and Women's Studies, The Feminist Wire, Lehigh University, the Human Rights Campaign and more than 30 units across the UA campus, the conference will focus on six main themes: disparities, global "blackness," the criminalizing of African-American communities, sexuality, violence against women and immigration.
The Black Life Matters Conference, which is free and open to the public, will be held Jan. 15 and 16 in the South Ballroom of the Student Union Memorial Center, 1303 E. University Blvd; on Jan. 17, the conference will be held at the Dunbar Cultural Center, 325 W. Second St.
The conference will include keynote presentations, hands-on workshops, collaborative panels, arts and performance, and community engagement.
"This conference is an attempt to fuse academic, community and political efforts, local to national, to remember that black life matters," said Monica J. Casper, who heads the UA's Department of Gender and Women's Studies.
Casper said the conference was inspired more than a year ago by conversations at The Feminist Wire around violence against African-Americans and given more urgency after the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York and subsequent protests.
The full conference schedule is available online. Keynote speakers include:
- Tamura A. Lomax, a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University and co-founder of The Feminist Wire.
- Kenyon Farrow, who works as an organizer, communications strategist and writer on issues at the intersection of HIV/AIDS, prisons and homophobia.
- Imani Perry, an interdisciplinary scholar who studies race and African-American culture using tools provided by law, literary studies, music and social sciences.
- Carolyn Finney, a geographer and author of "Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors."
- Lourdes Ashley Hunter, co-founder of the Trans Women of Color Collective.
"This conference gathering is built to be multifold and interactive, so we ask that attendees come to participate as well as observe," said April Petillo, a UA doctoral candidate of American Indian Studies and a member of the conference planning committee.
The conference also is meant to engage participants and attendees in coalition building and strategies for tackling these issues in Arizona and elsewhere, Casper said, noting opportunities for networking and action-oriented scholarship.