Whiteness on Fire: Building Together

Following the Atlanta massacre, Kyoung’s Pacific Beat continues its work with GAPIMNY – Empowering Queer and Trans APIs to host “Whiteness on Fire: Building Together,” a virtual long-table on Tuesday, April 20th from 7pm-9pm EST.

This virtual long-table, originally conceived by Lois Weaver, is an online dinner chat where we will set-up 8 “chairs” via Zoom for our facilitator, guest speakers, and attendees to engage in a conversation. The exchange of ideas will be our meal and anyone in the session will be able to take a chair or request a chair to speak.

“Whiteness on Fire: Building Together” will be facilitated by Conrhonda E. Baker (Board Member, Sole Defined) and include the participation of Joyce Adewumi (Founder and President, NYC Multicultural Festival), Carolina Dỗ (Asians4Abolition, The Song Collective), Rohan Zhou-Lee (Founder, Blasian March) and Ishmael Thaahir (Assistant Director, Kyoung’s Pacific Beat NERO).

“Whiteness on Fire” will provide space for us to share our community’s lived experiences as people of color in New York City, in order to examine where we are headed in this moment of solidarity and coalition building. In light of ongoing anti-Black and anti-Asian violence, how can we manifest freedom and liberation in the face of white supremacy?

KPB’s events are free, online and available to community members of our company and partner organizations. We will center the voices of women of color and our Black Allies and welcome white-identified allies to attend to learn, listen and provide support. To register, please RSVP through the following link by Friday, April 16th at 3pm EST.

RSVP: https://bit.ly/39QO0M8

For questions regarding our events, please feel free to contact us at kpbevents2011@gmail.com

GUEST SPEAKERS

Joyce Adewumi
Joyce Adewumi

Joyce Adewumi is the founder and president of the New York African Chorus Ensemble Inc., (NYACE) a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization located in New York City. Under her leadership, the organization presents programs that demystifies Africa, including “Dialogue: Africa Meets North America in Harlem,” an international conference and festival which earned Ms. Adewumi the prestigious 2011 International Communications Association’s World Harmony Award. Ms. Adewumi is also the founder and director of the annual “NYC Multicultural Festival”, the largest showcase and celebration of cultural diversity in New York City which is a collaboration between her organization and the NYPD. The NYC Multicultural festival, founded in 2010, has earned her numerous awards including the Blue Heart Award from Berlin, Germany, a 2013 Congressional Proclamation from the United States House of Congress, and the Yeye Asa (Mother of Culture) Award given by the Nigerian Community in New York. In 2018, Ms. Adewumi was honored with the title of Cultural Leader by the Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Champion of Social Service Award from The Wilson Mayor Morris Community Center for championing the cause of freedom, democracy and social justice. In 2019, she received the African Achievement Award from African Trade Center and a Proclamation from the Mayor of New York City, another proclamation from the Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Senator Robert Jackson, respectively. In 2020, she was awarded the Past Master John Matthews Community Service Award by The Brothers of Master Lodge No.99 in recognition of her work as the Vice President of the 30th Precinct Community Council under the leadership of the President, Mr. Len McTier. Ms. Adewumi serves the New York City community in various capacities as the Vice President of the 30th Precinct Community Council, Co-Chair of Manhattan Community Board 9 Economic Development and West Harlem Piers Committee and she is a member of the Manhattan Borough President’s African Immigrants Taskforce. She is also an Ambassador for Peace by the Universal Peace Federation and the National Director of Arts and Culture for Nigerian American Public Affairs Committee (NAPAC USA).

Conrhonda E. Baker
Conrhonda E. Baker

Conrhonda E. Baker is Fundraising Chair & Board Member of Sole Defined. Conrhonda’s passion for the performing arts is grounded in her dance background, sparked by taking after-school classes at a county-wide recreational facility in rural northeast Georgia. Having grown up with limited access to the arts, she understands the importance of exposing children to creative outlets and creating opportunities for artistic expression. She founded The Bese Saka in 2018 and currently works as the Chief Copy Editor as a way to live out her Christian faith by actively intervening and building equity into the process of securing institutional funding support. She currently also serves as the Communications Officer at the Howard Gilman Foundation in NYC. Her fundraising, government affairs, and program development experience developed through work with South Arts, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, Alabama Dance Council, Vulcan Park and Museum, Birmingham Museum of Art, and Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation. In addition to being a member of Women of Color in the Arts, and the inaugural Port Authority Bus Terminal Advisory Committee, she serves as the Fundraising Chair for SOLE Defined and the Treasurer for the Junior League of Montclair-Newark. Her favorite Bible verse is 1 Corinthians 9:26 (NLT Version). She holds a Master of Arts Management from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies with a minor in Dance Education from The University of Georgia.

Carolina Do
Carolina Đỗ

Carolina Đỗ is a storyteller and community organizer. She is a first generation Việt born in America, the child of refugees and descendant of freedom fighters. Her work centers around community building, transgenerational healing, diasporic longings, and collective storytelling. She is a founding Artistic Leader of The Sống Collective whose mission is to nurture a community of artists whose work explores questions of identity, race, intersectionality, immigration, and the refugee experience. She’s an organizer with @Asians4Abolition. She’s spoken about abolition and the solidarity needed in the fight for liberation on numerous panels, including a recent one organized by the Dianne Morales mayoral campaign, alongside Jason Wu (GAPIMNY, Truth Out), Rohan Zhou-Lee (Blasian March), Linda Sarsour (Women’s March & Until Freedom), Frederick Joseph (NYT Bestselling Author of The Black Friend), Pastor Samuel Cruz , PhD (Trinity Lutheran Church), Moumita Ahmed (candidate for NYC Council District 24), Kei Williams (Black Lives Matter Global Network), Emerald Snipes (daughter of Eric Garner, sister of Erica Garner, founder of We Can’t Breathe).

Ishmael Thaahir
Ishmael Thaahir

Ishmael Thaahir earned his B.F.A. in Theatre from North Carolina A&T State University and is Assistant Director of Kyoung’s Pacific Beat’s NERO, where he is also Arts Management Fellow. When not working at KPB, he teaches theater with the Hunts Point Alliance for Children. Ishmael believes art is an invaluable component in community building. He aims to make theatrical arts accessible for children & young adults alike. When not working, Ishmael can be found reading, going on walks, and endlessly quoting memes.

Rohan Zhou-Lee
Rohan Zhou-Lee

Rohan Zhou-Lee (They/Siya/祂 (Tā)) is dancer, writer, and organizer. Previous credits include a soloist role in the Off-Broadway revival of Over Here! The Musical, West Side Story [New Bedford Festival Theatre,] and The Bluebird from Sleeping Beauty [Victoria Ballet Theatre.] They also trained at the Dance Theatre of Harlem and Ruth Page Center For the Arts. Their short act play, The Soldier’s Home, was produced in 2015 by Circa Pintig, Chicago’s premiere Filipino theatre company. Zhou-Lee is the founder of the Blasian March, a solidarity movement for Black, Asian and Blasian [mixed] communities through education on parallel struggles with racial injustice and mutual celebration. Independent of the Blasian March, they organised a rally for Asian American communities on February 20th with a team of women of color. Through the Blasian March, they have co-organised events to continue to uplift Black, Asian and Blasian communities. They hold a BA in Ethnomusicology from Northwestern University.

Funders

“Whiteness on Fire” is a conversation series part of the artistic development of Kyoung’s Pacific Beat’s NERO, currently in development with support from the Howard Gilman Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation and The MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

NERO is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC).