Free For All – Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Celebration of the birthday of Malcolm X/Al-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, in collaboration with the Malcolm X Museum

The annual celebration of the birthday of Malcolm X/Al-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, in collaboration with the Malcolm X Museum, will feature an all-women panel consisting of Donna Auston, Dr. Sylvia Chan-Malik, and Esmeralda Simmons, moderated by Johanna Fernandez. The Conversation will focus on human rights and social justice, with special guest prolific poet and writer Sonia Sanchez.

Donna Auston is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers University, where she  also received her B.A. in Linguistics and Africana Studies.  Her research interests include race, ethnicity, gender, the body, religion, language, media representation, and Islam in America.  She has been researching and writing about the history and experiences of American Muslims for nearly two decades, with a particular focus on the African American Muslim community.  She’s also published a number of short essays, including, “Mapping the Intersections of Islamophobia and #BlackLivesMatter: Unearthing Black Muslim Life and Activism in the Policing Crisis,” and “Recalled to Life: On the Meaning and Power of a Die-In.”  In addition to her written scholarship, she lectures regularly at universities and other venues on subjects relating to her research.

Dr. Sylvia Chan-Malik is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of American and Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. She is currently a National Endowment for the Humanities Scholar-in-Residence at the Schomburg Center, where she is completing a history of U.S. Muslim women across the 20th-21st centuries, titled Gendering American Islam: U.S. Muslim Women and the Question of Race.

Johanna Fernández is a native New Yorker. She received a PhD in History from Columbia University, a B.A. in Literature and American Civilization from Brown University. Professor Fernández teaches 20th Century U.S. History, the history of social movements, the political economy of American cities, and African-American history. She was the recipient of a Fulbright Scholars grant to the Middle East and North Africa that took her to Jordan in spring 2011, where she taught graduate courses in American History. Professor Fernández is currently working on her forthcoming book on the Young Lords Party, the Puerto Rican counterpart to the Black Panther Party, tentatively titled When the World Was Their Stage: A History of the Young Lords Party, 1968-1974.

Esmeralda Simmons is the founder and Executive Director of the Center for Law and Social Justice, a community-based legal institution at Medgar Evers College, which conducts racial justice legal and public policy campaigns. Simmons is a prominent attorney who specializes in issues such as voting rights, educational inequity, and human rights violations in the US.  Throughout her career, she has served as First Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights for New York State, Vice Chair of the NYC Districting Commission, citywide member of the NYC Board of Education, and a civil rights attorney for the city, state, and federal governments.

Sonia Sanchez is a poet,  professor, and national and International lecturer on black culture and literature, women’s liberation, peace and racial justice. She is also a sponsor of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and a board member of MADRE. In addition, Sanchez is the author of over 20 books including HomecomingWe a BaddDDD PeopleLove PoemsHomegirls and HandgrenadesDoes Your House Have Lions?Shake Loose My Skin and most recently, Morning Haiku.  A recipient of a many awards, including the Lucretia Mott Award, the Outstanding Arts Award from the Pennsylvania Coalition of 100 Black Women, and the Community Service Award from the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, Sanchez has lectured at over 500 universities and colleges in the United States and traveled extensively, reading her poetry all around the world.  In December of 2011, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter selected Sonia Sanchez as Philadelphia’s first Poet Laureate.

Watch on livestream

@SchomburgCenter | #MalcolmXBday


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