As I often say, the thing I love about the seasonal Read for Justice Project is that it takes the shape of an ongoing cycle of our reading, learning, and commitment to anti-racism and collective liberation. Whatever season we are in and whatever is happening in the world, we can continue to learn, grow, and show up.
In the last week, we at Reading Is Resistance have been particularly tuned into the tremendous organizing work of Black women in Georgia, the insurrection into the U.S. Capitol by domestic terrorists wielding so many symbols of white supremacy and violence, and the ongoing assaults on Black folx by white people (most recently and most close to my personal circle the violent attack on Black teenager Keyon Harold Jr. by white adult Miya Ponsetto).
What place does imagination have when we face such powerful collective action alongside such tangible hate? Just as many have been posting in the social media book world, "The Books Are Not Enough." We at Reading Is Resistance loooove books, but don't get us wrong -- we also believe the books are not enough. They can be a time travel machine, an anchor, a portal, a window, a mirror. But they are not enough. But they can be powerful when we imagine them as transportive. They can move us into reflection and conversation...and then to action.
So, this share out is about a virtual festival we want to encourage you to attend and participate in: the Schomburg Center's Annual Black Comic Festival. Being in virtual intergenerational community alongside other avid artists and readers might be just what we need right now! There are opportunities for drawing and writing workshops and also talks by some of our favorite illustrators/writers. We hope you get involved and let us know what you think!
Two sessions that we signed up for are "Black Girl Genius" on Thursday, January 12, and Teaching Hard History Through Comics on Friday, January 15. Registration is free -- with donations encouraged.
For some context, comics bridge the worlds of history, fantasy, science fiction, and more. They also hold space for experimentation, pushing the limits of, and crossing boundaries around identity. Here are two resources about the way this genre and other genres of deep imagination can be transformative:
Hear straight from Oregon illustrator and author David Walker about his experience as an illustrator writing about Black history:
READ & WATCH
And check out this article Geneva Bowers Says Everything Is Going to Be Okay with Her Art from author and illustrator Geneva Bowers (who has illustrated many children's books). After that, watch one or more of here process videos. Think about how this image titled "the Knight" gives us a powerful counternarrative in addition to a gorgeous piece of art.
As always, we'd love to hear about how Read for Justice is going for you, if our resources are resonating, and if there are certain kinds of materials you'd like to receive as part of this journey. Email us with any feedback/ideas!