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Power of the Pen: Antiracism Through Writing (Applications closed.)

Saturday, February 6; Mondays
Feb 6
Mar 15
Metro Arts, The Porch, Crossroads
Online via Zoom
Cancellation & Refund Policy >

This workshop aims to take the pens in our hands and use them to dig; to delve this moment in history, all its change, possibility, and fear riding on the current of antiracism. By learning, reflecting, writing, and sharing in a safe, courageous space, we will come away not only with a deeper understanding of systemic racism but also drafts of writing that matter mightily.

Breakout workshops will be led by Porch instructors and members of the Metro Arts CARE (Committee for Anti-Racism and Equity). The class is open to all levels of writers.

Limited spaces. Application required. (Deadline: January 14.)

(First preference given to Davidson County residents.)

Financial assistance available.


Saturday, February 6, 9 AM - 4 PM CT: Crossroads “Saturday School” Introductory Training in Systemic Racism

Mondays, February 8-March 15, 7-9 PM CT: Mini-modules and Writing Workshops

Tasneem Ansariyah Grace is a writer and performance artist who facilitates engagements that explore the soul connection of our collective humanity. For nearly 20 years she worked as a newspaper journalist and has worked with several non-profits - in Syracuse, NY; Nashville, TN and Belize, Central America – as a community engagement manager, content creator and editor. Currently, she serves at the Nashville Public Library as an associate director of programming in the Civil Rights Center. As a student and teacher of the global struggles for liberation, she continues to use conversation and stories as a pathway to developing, and sustaining, community. She co-facilitates conversation-based courses on diversity, equity and inclusion and co-leads workshops on identity, race, social justice and storytelling. Her writing and performances have been featured in local productions of “How to Catch A Flying Woman,” with Actors Bridge Ensemble. She is an inaugural cast member and featured writer in the stage production and anthology “Listen to Your Mother”. Tasneem is the mother of five daughters (one beloved bonus and four biological). She is the founder of SoulStory and shares global folktales with audiences who crave engagements that blend wisdom, creativity, movement and humanity. Most recently, she and her mother, Jackie Grace, have combined their teaching and storytelling talents in Tennessee. She is a runner, gardener, aspiring seamstress, poet and awesome cook of collard greens.

Michael McRay is a writer, mediator, and seasoned facilitator. His most recent book I Am Not Your Enemy explores stories from divided societies on the problems and possibilities of reconciliation and justice. As a white Southerner, McRay has been working to unlearn and uproot white supremacy from his body and beliefs for years. He holds a Master’s in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation from Trinity College Dublin. He hosts live storytelling with Tenx9 Nashville, leads retreats for deep dives into personal stories, and facilitates empathy-building story exchanges with Narrative 4. Learn more at www.michaelmcray.com

Ciona Rouse is a poet and teaching artist. The author of Vantablack, the first chapbook of Third Man Books (2017), her poetry has also appeared in Oxford American, wildness, The Account, Gabby Journal, Matter: a journal of political poetry and commentary and other publications. She’s featured on NPR’s Turning the Tables in a collaborative project with poets Adia Victoria and Caroline Randall Williams. Rouse is on the faculty of the Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference (2019-2021), in addition to a regular poetry workshop instructor for organizations like The Porch Writers’ Collective and Hindman Settlement School. In 2017-2018, she served as a resident poet for the “Nick Cave: FEAT” art exhibition at Frist Art Museum, culminating in a poem called “We,” which was named 2018’s “Best Poetry Performance” by Nashville Scene. Presently, Rouse is co-curator of a forthcoming exhibit at Frist Art Museum. Along with poet Kendra DeColo, Rouse cohosts the podcast Re/VERB, a Third Man Books podcast where literature and pop culture meet. A graduate of Columbia College of South Carolina, Rouse currently lives in Nashville, TN, where she is poetry editor of Wordpeace Journal. Find Rouse’s work at www.cionarousepoetry.com.

What Our Students Say

Ciona is very knowledgeable and helpful. I learned so much in her class. She was patient. She taught me so much that I was not aware of. When she read to us...she had a way of pulling you in. I appreciate being a part of the class and hated to see it end but she prepared me for what lies ahead.

Michael instilled confidence in me and the belief that my stories and voice are just as valuable as others.

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