NEW YORK: The Broadway Advocacy Coalition (BAC) has announced the class for its second annual BAC artivism fellowship, created to support artist-activists using their tools to impact the world around them. The fellowship will provide financial support, mentorship, networking opportunities, and pedagogy workshops for eight BIPOC artists: ML Roberts, KB, Farah Habad, Davia Spain, Janai Lashon, Jasmine Leeward, Benjamin Lundberg Torres Sánchez, and Immanuel Simone. Each artist, according to the BAC, uses “narrative to impact systemic racism and criminal justice reform.”
“This dynamic cohort of artivists are using their radical imaginations to show us new possibilities,” Andrea Ambam, co-facilitator and mentor of the fellowship, said in a statement. “Their artivism projects embody ‘good trouble’ and belong on stages, on screens, in classrooms, and beyond.”
Roberts is a writer and performer who believes that art can illuminate paths to collective liberation. A descendant of the Gullah Geechee people of the Carolinas, he is a company member at A Contemporary Theatre and the Indianapolis Shakespeare Company, a first year MFA candidate at the University of Iowa’s Playwrights Workshop, and a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
KB is a poet, essayist, and cultural worker from Fort Worth, Texas. Their book How to Identify Yourself With a Wound won the Saguaro Poetry Prize. Their writing can be seen in Teen Vogue, American Poetry Review, Autostraddle, Electric Lit, and elsewhere, and they have earned fellowships with PEN America, Lambda Literary, and elsewhere.
Habad is a poet and organizer based in Minneapolis by way of Oakland, with over a decade of experience in public speaking and performance. His commitment to bearing witness for his community translates directly to his approach and execution onstage, and he seeks to use performance as a community-building tool.
Spain is a performance artist, musician, and filmmaker from California. Her education in music, dance, and acting began in high school and she has performed at American Conservatory Theater, the Strand, REDCAT, the Broad Museum, CounterPulse, and more. She released her solo music project Dawning in 2020 and has performed internationally in Canada and Mexico.
Lashon is a recent graduate of Ohio University’s School of Theatre with an MFA in acting. She co-founded Vibrancy Theater in response to racial injustices she experienced along with other BIPOC theatre students. She is the founder and lead creator of J.L. Creative Services, where she provides creative consulting, cultural competency education, and unapologetic artistry to authentically share Black experiences. She is also a co-founder and board member of Face Off Theatre Company in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Leeward is a filmmaker whose primary goal is to translate complex policy and Black realities into accessible stories that inspire action. They are a 2019 Echoing Ida fellow, a 2020 Visionary Justice StoryLab fellow, and a 2021 Rockwood JustFilms fellow. Their short film dusk was selected for the 2020 Afrikana Film Festival.
Lundberg Torres Sánchez uses their art and facilitation to transform individual witness into collective action. A native of Bogotá, their work has been shown in the U.S. at the Queens Museum, the Museum of the Moving Image, the Mills Gallery at Boston Center for the Arts, the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, and the Knockdown Center, among others. They are the founder of the performance and exhibition series Se Aculilló? They are a co-editor of You Are Holding This, an abolitionist zine for and by adopted and fostered people. Lundberg Torres Sánchez was the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts 2017 in new genres and 2018 merit fellow in film and video.
Simone is a New Orleans native and a graduate of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. She earned a BFA in acting from Ball State University, where she was the vice president of the student group Artists for Inclusivity. She has worked for the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond and Transvisible Hub. She is currently working on the solo show On My Way: Under My Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams, about her journey through transitions and transitioning.
The Broadway Advocacy Coalition was founded in 2016 as a direct response to the nation’s pandemic of racism and police brutality as a multidisciplinary organization which unites artists, legal experts, and community leaders to create lasting impact on policy issues from criminal justice reform to education equity to immigration.
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