civil-rights-marchFeaturing Heid Erdrich ♦ Jeremiah Bey ♦ Chong Moua ♦ Roy Guzmán ♦ and Kevin Vollmers
Lowertown Reading Jam will be presented on Wednesday, July 22, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, 308 Prince Street in Saint Paul. All ages, no cover, donations welcome. Food and beverages for sale.
Also, follow the action on Twitter with @AlmanacLive and #LRJ.
Minnesota “Nice.”
Minnesota “Miracle.”
Lake Wobegon.
Lovely Buzzfeed lists about the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
Do I see myself in the water’s reflection?
Do you?
Or have we been written out of this Minnesota Brand all together? “The Minnie-rasure” of People of Color.

This brand: It systematically elevates the Whiteness to a de facto “goodness” of the North Star State—a dance over the chalked color line that not-so-inadvertently erases the thoughts, the perspectives, the experiences, and the lives of the Native community, people of color, and immigrants.

Join Saint Paul Almanac and Gazillion Strong for this Lowertown Reading Jam as Heid Erdrich ♦ Jeremiah Bey ♦ Chong Moua ♦ and Roy Guzmán share the Minnie-rasure of people of color.

Kevin-Vollmers-sqKevin Haebeom Vollmers is the executive director of Gazillion Strong and also the founder of Land of Gazillion Adoptees, LLC (LGA), a multimedia company based out of Minneapolis. He is the publisher of Parenting As Adoptees, The Declassified Adoptee: Essays of an Adoption Activist, Lost Daughters: Writing Adoption From a Place of Empowerment and Peace, and Ghost of Sangju: A Memoir of Reconciliation. Much of his work focuses on the intersectionality between adoption, race, culture, identity, performance, art, politics, pop culture, and social movement. He has been featured in The New York Times, National Public Radio, Minnesota Public Radio, CNN, Colorlines, Racialicious, Hyphen, The Good Men Project, Daily Beast, Fox News, and MSNBC.

Heid-E-Erdrich-sqHeid E. Erdrich is a poet, writer, and arts consultant. Her current positions include Minnesota Humanities Center scholar and faculty mentor for Augsburg College’s low-residency MFA program. She is author of four books of poems, including Cell Traffic: New and Selected Poems. Her recent work of nonfiction, a memoir-in-recipes titled Original Local: Indigenous Foods, Stories, and Recipes from the Upper Midwest, was a City Pages Top Ten food book for 2014.

Jeremia-Bey-sqJeremiah Bey is a visual artist and storyteller. He was born and raised in North Minneapolis as one of four children and credits growing up in a full house with teaching him the value of multiple perspectives and the importance of other voices in the creative process.

Jeremiah is a Givens Black Writers fellow, a U of M Center for Urban and Regional Affairs Artist Neighborhood Partnership Initiative Grant recipient, an Intermedia Arts Creative Community Leadership Institute fellow, and a John Biggers Seed Project fellow. He most prides himself in his community work. He works as both an independent artist and a Juxtaposition Arts roster artist—in both capacities, working to build the social conscience of youth and the community at large.

_Chong-Moua-sqChong Moua. Hmong. Queer. Radical. Woman. Artist. Speaker. Community Activist. Social Entrepreneur.

Chong started her journey in community organizing with Shades of Yellow and has since been involved with multiple organizations such as TakeAction MN, Neighborhood House, Pan-Asian Voices for Equity, Minnesota History Center, Bi Organizing Project, the University of Wisconsin system, Metropolitan State University, and the University of Minnesota. She speaks about gender, sexuality, race, intersections of identities, and values-based living. Chong is a down-low singer, writer, spoken word artist, and career coach. She is most passionate about building community, music, self-liberation, and sustainability. Chong is the founder of Faded Productions and hopes to share her voice as a first-generation war-surviving refugee in a land of 10,000 stolen acres.

Roy-Guzman-sqRoy G. Guzmán is a Honduran-born poet whose work will appear or has appeared in Notre Dame Review, Drunken Boat, The Acentos Review, NonBinary Review, and the Best American Poetry Blog. He is an MFA candidate in creative writing at the University of Minnesota, poetry editor for Sundog Lit, and blogger for The MFA Years. Rant along with him on Twitter: @dreamingauze.

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