|Kevin Powell’s Writing Workshop Releases 2020: The Year That Changed America
Sharing personal experience is among the most generous gifts anyone can provide. The transparency offers recipients invaluable insight, affirmation, and hope. Kevin Powell’s Writing Workshop blesses readers processing the traumas of the global pandemic, COVID-19, and the aftermath of the presidential election with stories of empathy in its new release 2020: The Year That Changed America, an anthology that compiles 164 testimonies of resilience, now officially on sale.
Acclaimed poet, journalist, and human and civil rights activist Kevin Powell is joined by previously published and newly published writers of blogs, essays, poetry, journal entries, and fiction who have contributed soulful, informational, eye-catching, and gut-wrenching pieces that span the trials of 2020. Included are award-winning and game-changing writers Nikki Giovanni, Gloria Steinem, Etan Thomas, Nancy Mercado, Dave Zirin, Jackson Katz, jessica Care moore, asha bandele, Tim Wise, Bob Holman, and V (formerly Eve Ensler). And the front and back covers of the book feature the iconic images of multi-talented photographer Kay Hickman, the first Black woman to ever have a solo show (also in 2020) at the New-York Historical Society, the oldest museum in that city.
Inside the book Alexandria Esplana, an 18-year-old California State University, Chico freshman, writes about finding gratitude amid the crisis. “The character development the year 2020 forced Generation Z to have better equips us to make the world a better place in the future,” she says in her essay, “The Worst Year Ever.” Albany, Georgia writer, teacher and preacher Bummi Niyonu Anderson exudes sorrow in her story “I Lost My Twin Sister to COVID,” describing the last time she saw her lifetime best friend. “The ambulance came and transported her as I stood outside her house,” she says. “She didn’t know me. She seemed confused.” Educator, author, and lecturer Jackson Katz, Ph.D., breaks down how former president Donald Trump rallied the support of millions of men who feared being ‘“unmanned” and losing the respect of other men’ in his rousing piece, “What Donald Trump Understands About American Men.” Indeed, Katz’s piece boldly foreshadows the January 6, 2021 riot/insurrection in Washington, D.C. In her poem, “2020,” beloved poet Nikki Giovanni condemns Trump, his Republican supporters, and racist police officers, but she also celebrates some of the satisfying things she did last year—“Learn how to open oysters, Talk to friends, Catch up on my reading.” Powell opens the book with his introductory poem “we them people” that reminds Americans of every background that they are resilient, beautiful, and the freedom they are looking for. For sure, readers will find comfort throughout the writings.
The 2020: The Year That Changed America concept was born during a seven-week Zoom writing course Powell offered in partnership with the historic Nuyorican Poets Cafe last fall. Up to 200 new and established writers of all identities showed up to the safe and non-judgemental space each week, read their writing samples, and received feedback from the group. The course expanded to 10 weeks, the creation of a permanent Facebook group with a few hundred writers, and this anthology that was compiled in two months.
2020: The Year That Changed America is dedicated to the memory of Miguel Algarín, main founder of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. It is also dedicated to the victims and survivors of COVID-19, and to the essential workers. Proceeds from this book will be donated to Urban World NYC, the famed youth writing program.
Kevin Powell is one of the most prolific literary, political, cultural, and hip-hop voices in America. He is a poet, journalist, civil and human rights activist, public speaker, filmmaker, a former two-time candidate for the United States Congress in New York City, and author or editor of 14 books. Kevin’s newest book is When We Free The World, a short collection of essays plus one poem about the present and future of America. His next book will be a biography of Tupac Shakur, the global pop culture and hip-hop icon. Kevin’s writings have appeared in a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, HuffPost, CNN, The Guardian, British GQ, The Nation, Utne Reader, Vibe, Esquire, NPR, and The Progressive. Kevin is currently completing an indie film as a first-time director/writer/producer entitled What’s Going On, about healthy manhood versus toxic manhood, about fathers and sons, inspired by Marvin Gaye’s landmark album of the same title. Kevin lives in New York City, the borough of Brooklyn.
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Kevin Powell’s Writing Workshop Releases 2020: The Year That Changed America