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Social Justice Speaker Series

Unique Speakers Series To Open Dialogue About Social Justice


Dayton Metro Library is pleased to introduce a new programming series titled Social Justice Speaker Series, which aims to understand and demonstrate the effects of social justice in society.

This new series will be comprised of unique, award-winning and professional speakers. Patrons will have the opportunity to listen to them discuss some of the most critical social justice issues of today, as they provide insights from their professional fields and personal journeys.

The Friends of the Dayton Metro Library generously sponsored the following Social Justice Speaker Series events: Emiliana Guereca, Saeed Jones, and the Local Children's Author's Book Read & Conversation. The Social Justice Speaker Series will take place at the Main Library. Registration is not required, but each program is designed for a specific age group, as noted.

Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

Social Justice Speaker Series:

Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

Thursday, May 12, 7 - 8pm
Main, Bassani Theater Off Third
For Adults, Teens, and Tweens

Mai, an award-winning Vietnamese writer, journalist, and finalist of the 2021 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for her debut and first novel in English, The Mountains Sing, will provide a virtual presentation focusing on her literary works and books. Mai’s work has won numerous prizes: the BookBrowse Best Debut Award, the Blogger's Book Prize, the 2021 International Book Awards, the 2021 PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award, and the 2020 Lannan Literary Award Fellowship for "a work of exceptional quality" and for "contribution to peace and reconciliation.”

About this Speaker   |   Items in Our Collection

Andrea Wang

Social Justice Speaker Series:

Andrea Wang

Saturday, May 28, 1:30 - 3pm
Main, The Eichelberger Forum
For All Ages

Wang will join the audience to provide a virtual reading of her newest books titled Watercress and The Many Meanings of Meilan. Watercress is semi-autobiographical and Wang’s third picture book. It was awarded the Caldecott Medal, a Newbery Honor, and the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. She is also the author of seven nonfiction titles for the library and school market. Her work explores culture, creative thinking, and identity. These programs coincide with DML’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month programming for May.

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Saeed Jones

Social Justice Speaker Series:

Saeed Jones

Saturday, June 11, 2:30 - 3:30 pm
Main, Great Reading Room
For Adults and Teens

Saeed Jones is an essential author as well as a powerful voice in the world of literary activism, and his writing often engages the questions and nuances of identity. He has shaped his platform into a tool for social awareness, breakthroughs, and connections with his no-holds-barred personality and unforgettable voice. Jones' memoir, How We Fight for Our Lives, received a 2019 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction, a 2020 Lambda Literary Award, and a 2020 Stonewall Book Award. His debut poetry collection, Prelude to a Bruise, was awarded the 2015 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry. Jones' next collection, Alive at the End of the World, is anticipated for a fall 2022 release. Jones, the founding editor of BuzzFeed LGBT and will discuss his experiences in writing and working in news and exploring all things pop culture. This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Dayton Metro Library and coincides with DMLPRIDE Month programming in June.

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Kiara Berry Henry L. Benton III Kwaunisha Moore

Local Children’s Author’s Book Read & Conversation

Saturday, July 9, 11 am - 12:30 pm | Main, Eichelberger Forum
For Families and Children up to Grade 4

Three local, first-time authors who seek to inspire children and youth from diverse backgrounds will gather for a moderated author panel and Q&A session led by Te’Jal “TJ” Cartwright. They will also read excerpts from their work. Panelists include: Kiara Berry (Which Cape Will I Wear Today?), Henry L. Benton III (Yes Dad and H is for HBCU’s), and Kwaunisha Moore (Baby Girl, Encourage Yourself). This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Dayton Metro Library and coincides with DML’s Summer Challenge programming.

Candice Matthews Brackeen

Social Justice Speaker Series:

Candice Matthews Brackeen

Saturday, August 6, 2 - 3:15 pm
Main, The Eichelberger Forum
For Adults and Teens

Brackeen is a general partner at Lightship Capital, directs programming at Lightship Foundation, expands upon her work driving representation in innovation with her role on the Lunar Surface Innovation Consortium for NASA, and sits on the advisory committee and selection committees for technology for the Ohio State University and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center. This program coincides with Gem City Black Business Month.

Leah Thomas

Social Justice Speaker Series:

Leah Thomas

Thursday, September 8, 11 am - 12:00 pm & 6 - 7:30 pm
Main, The Eichelberger Forum
For Adults, Teens, and Tweens

Thomas is a celebrated environmentalist based in Santa Barbara, CA, who coined the term “eco-communicator” to describe her style of environmental activism. She is also the founder of eco-lifestyle blog @greengirlleah. Her book, The Intersectional Environmentalist, was published in March. Her writing has also appeared in a variety of publications and numerous podcasts.

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Hanif Abdurraqib

Social Justice Speaker Series:

Hanif Abdurraqib

Tuesday, September 20, 10 - 11:15 am
Main, The Eichelberger Forum
For Adults, Teens, and Tweens

Abdurraqib is an award-winning poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. The Crown Ain't Worth Much was named a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Prize and was nominated for a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us was named a book of the year by many publication outlets. Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest became a New York Times Bestseller, was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize, and was longlisted for the National Book Award. His second collection of poems, A Fortune for Your Disaster, won the 2020 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize.

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Emiliana Guereca

Social Justice Speaker Series:

Emiliana Guereca

Thursday, October 13, 11 am - 12 pm & 6:30 - 8 pm
Main, The Eichelberger Forum
For Adults, Teens, and Tweens

Guereca is an award-winning activist, feminist, entrepreneur, and CEO of the Women’s March Foundation. She devotes much of her time to advocacy programs for women’s rights, Latino education, and gender equality and has served as the bridge between community organizations and coalition building that spans national levels. Her recent endeavor includes launching Women’s March Action, the 501c4 political arm of the Women’s March. Guereca has received many awards over the years for her work. This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Dayton Metro Library and coincides with DML Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month programming.

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Michael Thomas Ford

Social Justice Speaker Series:

Michael Thomas Ford

Saturday, October 22, 2:30 - 3:30 pm
Main, The Eichelberger Forum
For Adults and Teens

Ohio author Michal Thomas Ford will discuss his many books, which are for both adults and young readers and often focuses on the experience of being part of the LGBTQ community. YA novels include Suicide Notes and Love & Other Curses. Adult novels include Lily, Full Circle, and What We Remember. He is the recipient of five Lambda Literary Awards and has been a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and the Ignyte Award.

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