Keynote Speakers

Amita Swadhin: Educator, Storyteller, Activist, Consultant 

Strategies for Movement Building  

Nationally-recognized survivor-activist Amita Swadhin will share their journey of breaking silence, healing, and using survivors' stories as a tool for collective healing and organizing to end rape culture. They will present their latest project, Mirror Memoirs, an oral history and leadership development pipeline for LGBTQI people of color who survived child sexual abuse, as an example of intersectional praxis, and will discuss how centering the most marginalized survivors can liberate everyone. They will also discuss the work to end rape culture as an intergenerational task, and what we can learn from the latest public dialogues about sexual violence and celebrities. 

About Amita Swadhin

Amita Swadhin is an educator, storyteller, activist and consultant dedicated to fighting interpersonal and institutional violence against young people. Their commitments and approach to this work stem from their experiences as a genderqueer, femme queer woman of color, daughter of immigrants, and years of childhood abuse by their parents, including eight years of rape by their father.

They are a frequent speaker at colleges, conferences and community organizations nationwide, and a consultant with over fifteen years of experience in nonprofits serving low-income, immigrant and LGBTQ communities of color. They also support individual survivors as a coach focused on healing and social entrepreneurship via their online course Power, Pleasure, Purpose. Amita has been publicly out as a survivor of child sexual abuse since they interned at the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Violence Against Women in 1997.

In 2016, Amita received a Just Beginnings Collaborative Fellowship, allowing them to launch Mirror Memoirs, an oral history project centering the stories, healing and leadership of LGBTQ people of color who survived child sexual abuse in social justice movements nationwide.

From March 2012 to September 2015, Amita was the Los Angeles Executive Director of Peer Health Exchange, empowering teens to make healthy decisions. In the fall of 2015, they were the Interim Executive Director of API Equality-LA, building power in the Asian and Pacific Islander community to achieve LGBTQ equality and racial and social justice. Amita has held positions at Legal Momentum, Global Kids, Make the Road NY, Sadie Nash Leadership Project and Kingsborough Community College (CUNY), and served as the final Board Chair of the National Youth Advocacy Coalition, a national organization advocating for and with LGBTQ youth.

Amita is also a published author. Their writing has been featured on The Feminist Wire and The Huffington Post, and in the anthologies Dear Sister: Letters from Survivors of Sexual Violence (AK Press, 2014) and Queering Sexual Violence (Magnus Books, 2016).

 

Zoë Flowers: Founder, Soul Requirements

“Our Silence Will Not Protect Us: Reclaiming Our Magick Through Performance”
Throughout history, women of color have been restricted from participating in public discourse.  As a result, secretive methods of liberation emerged. For example, during the Transatlantic Slave Trade, quilts embroidered with intricately woven clues guided enslaved Africans to freedom. In Latin America, music and storytelling were used to escape the harsh realities of war and became a key component of freedom fighting. There are reasons why silence continues to permeate communities of color. This keynote will explore the intricacies of silence.  As advocates, teachers, and healers we recognize the power in telling one’s story. This workshop uses personal accounts, and performance to discuss why women of color do not report gender based violence and offers non-traditional pathways to healing and liberation. 

 

About Zoë Flowers
Zoë Flowers is a filmmaker, author, poet, actress, Reiki Master, seasoned domestic violence advocate and writer with the Huffington Post. Her poetry and essays can be found in Stand Our Ground; Poems for Trayvon Martin and Marissa Alexander, Dear Sister: Letters From Survivors of Sexual Assault and several online journals.  Like many young women, Zoë found herself in a dangerous relationship in her early twenties. She ended the relationship but the experience motivated her to be a catalyst for change. She worked at several state domestic violence coalitions where she provided training, technical assistance, and domestic violence expertise to programs and community partners across the country before dedicating her talents to women of color advocates, survivors, and their families as the Director of Survivor Programs for the Women of Color Network Inc.

In 2012, Zoë launched Soul Requirements to combine her artistic projects, domestic violence expertise, and holistic healing practice. She has facilitated individual and group healing sessions to clients across the country and internationally. She has worked with the Joyful Heart Foundation since 2012 on a number of projects. She is also a member of the foundation’s retreat team where she provides Reiki to survivors of domestic and sexual violence.  

In 2004, Zoë Flowers conducted interviews with women of color about their experiences with domestic and sexual violence. From Ashes To Angel's Dust: A Journey Through Womanhood is the book that emerged from those interviews. ASHES - a ChoreoDrama that uses monologues, poems and vignettes to breathe life into the original stories chronicled in Zoë’s book and includes new stories about historical oppression, the media, campus sexual assault, body image, and the journey to self-love. ASHES has had many successful performances across the country including; Yale University’s 2016 Fearless Conference, The White House’s United State of Women Summit in Washington, DC in 2016, NCADV’s 2016 National Conference: Voices United and Smith College in 2017. Zoë’s book, From Ashes To Angel's Dust: A Journey Through Womanhood was re-released in 2017 and Zoë has done several book readings throughout the year. 

Zoë has now added filmmaking, producing and directing to her resume. She began filming her first movie RODE in 2017. The film is slated for screening in 2018.

 

Antonia Lassar: Playwright and Performer, Post Traumatic Super Delightful

Post Traumatic Super Delightful (PTSD)
Post Traumatic Super Delightful (PTSD) is a groundbreaking piece of theatre about the sexual assault crisis on college campuses. Through docu-drama, the lives of survivors, perpetrators, and bystanders weave together in a wickedly funny and piercingly insightful story about a community trying to heal after a sexual assault. PTSD is more than a piece of theatre; it's an educational tool about the successes, challenges, and complexities of sexual assault prevention, including Title IX legislation. The play explores how everyone in a community is hurt by sexual violence, and how laughter can be an unexpected first step towards healing. "An opportunity for communities to come together to laugh, question, and learn.”- Marie Claire Magazine.

About Antonia Lassar
Antonia Lassar, BFA is a playwright, performer, and educator in New York City. Her solo performances straddle the intersection of journalism and theatre. She has performed her works at major colleges and at theatres in the United States and in South Africa. She guest-lectures at colleges and universities on activism through art, was recently a mentor for Glamour Magazine’s Top Ten College Women’s program, and delivered a keynote at the 2017 Minnesota Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers conference. Ms. Lassar was called “your new hero” by Marie Claire Magazine for her theatrical work addressing sexual violence on campuses.