Imani Jacquline Brown
Imani Jacqueline Brown is a New Orleans native, artist, activist, and researcher. She believes that art can drive policy and orients her practice toward the ever-elusive flicker of justice on the horizon, knowing that our world cannot find balance until social, ecological, and economic reparations are won. Imani is Director of Programs at Antenna, Co-Founder of Blights Out, and a core member of Occupy Museums. Through three years of experiential research into the system of housing development, Blights Out has discovered the legal lynchpin of gentrification in New Orleans and is calling for policy change to redress our city’s housing crisis. In 2017, Occupy Museums’ project, “Debtfair” was featured in the Whitney Biennial. Imani is Artistic Director of Fossil Free Festival, which will take place in New Orleans, April 7-8, 2018. In 2014, her paper, Performing Bare Life, was named best in her substream at LAEMOS in Havana, Cuba. Her writing has been published in Pelican Bomb, Krytyka Polityczna, and Shelterforce Magazine. Imani received her BA in Visual Arts and Anthropology from Columbia University in 2010. She will pursue her Master’s at the Center for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London, in Fall 2018.
Sonia Guiñansaca is a migrant poet, cultural organizer, and activist from Harlem, NY by way of Ecuador. Guiñansaca a VONA/Voices alumni has performed at El Museo Del Barrio, the NY Poetry Festival, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and featured on NBC, PBS, Latina Magazine, Pen American, and the Poetry Foundation to name a few. She has presented keynotes, workshops, and panels at universities throughout the country on issues of immigration, LGBTQ, and power of arts/culture. She’s been named as 1 of 10 Up and Coming Latinx Poets You Need to Know by Remezcla, one of 13 Coolest Queers on the Internet by Teen Vogue, and the 2017's Artist in Residence at NYU's Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. She has emerged as a national leader in migrant artistic and political communities. Co-founded and help build some of the largest undocumented organizations in the country, coordinating and participating in groundbreaking civil disobedience actions. She has also founded some of the first creative artistic projects by and for undocumented writers/artists. Recently named as the Managing Director of CultureStrike. Her global vision for change is to shift culture and narratives about migration so that we can truly address the political, systemic, and social needs of migrants and refugees.