Letters Lived Update: Part 2

As part of our tribute to revolutionary human rights activist and writer Grace Lee Boggs, we are sharing the ongoing work of the contributors to Letters Lived: Radical reflections, revolutionary paths. These diverse activists continue to channel Grace’s legacy of “rebuilding, respiriting and redefining” cities from the ground up. Check out our first entry in the series here and stay tuned for more updates in the coming days!

Sheila Sampath

The editor behind Letters Lived, Sheila Sampath, is always busy organizing, hosting, and contributing to events, and this month is no exception. Sampath was in Vancouver on November 21st to deliver the keynote speech at Practivism 7, an event organized by the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada. Her talk focused on the links between radical design and community activism and engagement. She was also on Redeye Vancouver Coop Radio on November 22nd to discuss her work with Shameless Magazine, an independent Canadian publication for young women and trans youth. The Public, an activist design studio for which Sampath is the Principal & Creative Director, was recently awarded an RGD So(coal) Good Award for its design collaboration with The Council of Elders and Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto.

Lee Maracle

From the Stó:lō Nation of British Columbia, Lee Maracle is a prolific novelist, poet, and activist known for infusing First Nations’ culture and history into inventive narratives. Maracle’s latest book is titled Celia’s Song:

“[It] returns to many of the characters that appeared in her 1993 novel Ravensong. The story follows multiple generations of a Stö:lo family from the Pacific Northwest through various tragedies and hardships, as witnessed by a shape-shifter named Mink.” – Quill & Quire

Featured on this month’s cover of Quill & Quire, Maracle discusses her new novel and her process of reworking traditional stories. Maracle is currently the Traditional Teacher for First Nations House, an instructor at the University of Toronto, and Cultural Director for Toronto’s Centre for Indigenous Theatre.

Cristy C. Road

Cristy C. Road is a Cuban-American illustrator, writer, and member of The Homewreckers, a queer-core punk rock band.  Road’s most recent work, Spit and Passion, is a queer-coming out memoir about her formative teen years. Road was recently enlisted for the revitalization project of Third Woman Press – a publisher of some of the most important feminist texts, including The Bridge Called My Back and Chicana Lesbians. Road helped the press raise money by contributing her talent towards an Audre Lorde-inspired poster. You can read an interview with Road conducted by the team at Third Woman Press here. Road is currently working on a Tarot Card deck with author Michelle Tea. On November 18th, Road was in attendance at Ms. Heather’s Drama Club in New York where she shared new work alongside other artists and activists.

Nina Power

Nina Power teaches philosophy at London’s Roehampton University and Critical Writing in Art & Design at the Royal College of Art. She regularly writes articles on European philosophy, atomism, pedagogy, art, and politics for several outlets including The Guardian and New Statesmen. Power’s latest work includes “Rainy Fascism Island” on the publishing platform e-flux, in which Power criticizes the British state’s elitist, anti-immigration rhetoric that uses the immigrant community as a scapegoat in the post-crash era. Power also published a heart-breaking piece on state violence for openDemocracy’s politics of mental health series titled “Time does not always heal: state violence and psychic damage.” In this very personal piece, Power details the prolonged and painful legal process her partner Alfie Meadows went through after he was nearly killed by an officer at an anti-tuition fees demonstration.

Coco Riot

A queer Spanish artist residing in Montreal, Coco Guzman, also known as Coco Riot, is an avid visual artist/zine-maker who explores the storytelling possibilities of installations, animation film, comics, and print media. Their latest installation, The Demonstration, explores “the interpersonal/group dynamics and intense emotional narratives that are generated when a large group of people come together.” The papier-mâché installation features 13 brightly coloured sculptures representing imaginary and mythical characters emerging from the floor. The female Minotaur, the leading figure of the exhibition, was a collaborative effort between Guzman and artist Carla Molina. On-site installations of the Minotaur were presented at the Mayworks Festival and the Whippersnapper Gallery in Toronto. Filmmaker and journalist Serene Husni filmed and edited the making of The Demonstration through the phases of building, sculpting, and painting. Stay tuned for updates around the release date of this documentary.