The New Social Environment#164

Kevin Powell and Shaniyat Chowdhury with Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Activist Kevin Powell and community organizer & policy adviser Shaniyat Chowdhury will be in conversation with Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper. We’ll conclude with a poetry reading from Joy Priest

In this talk

In preparation for the 2020 Election, please join us for an informal conversation on the historical significance of voting in this country, and what is at stake in this election—with special guests Kevin Powell and Shaniyat Chowdhury, both of whom are key figures in today’s progressive politics as well as former congressional candidates. They will be in conversation with social activist Reverend Donna Schaper. We’ll also be highlighting grassroots congressional races that have been run, checking in with former congressional candidates on and the issues for which they ran and which inspired them to run in the first place.

Kevin Powell

Kevin Powell

Kevin Powell is one of the most acclaimed political, cultural, literary and hip-hop voices in America today. Kevin is a native of Jersey City, raised by a single mother in extreme poverty, but managed to study at Rutgers University in New Brunswick thanks to New Jersey’s Educational Opportunity Fund. Kevin has gone on to be the author of 12 books, including his newest title, The Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy’s Journey into Manhood. Kevin’s writings have also appeared in, Esquire, Ebony, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, and Vibe Magazine, where he worked for many years as a senior writer, interviewing such diverse public figures as Tupac Shakur and General Colin Powell.

As an activist, he is the president and co-founder of BK Nation, a new national, progressive, multicultural organization focused on such issues as education, civic engagement, leadership training, health and wellness, social media, arts and culture, and job and small business creation.

As a pop culture curator, Kevin produced the first exhibit on the history of hip-hop in America at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, which toured America and overseas. As a humanitarian, Kevin’s work includes local, national and international initiatives to end violence against women and girls (including a very well-regarded appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show highlighting domestic violence); and he has done extensive philanthropic and relief work, ranging from Hurricane Katrina to earthquakes in Haiti and Japan, to Superstorm Sandy in New York, to his annual holiday party and clothing drive for the homeless every December since 9/11.

Shaniyat Chowdhury

Shaniyat Chowdhury
Shaniyat Chowdhury is an educator and organizer from South Jamaica, Queens. His advocacy ranges from housing and immigrants rights, combating poverty, and foreign relations. He graduated from John Jay College with a Bachelors of Science in Law and Society. He has worked in the New York State Assembly, as a campaign organizer, and most recently ran for Congress to represent New York’s 5th Congressional District. He served in the United States Marine Corps as a Field Radio Operator from 2011–2017.

Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper

A photo of Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper
Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper has been Senior Minister of Judson Memorial Church since January of 2006. She was formerly at Coral Gables Congregational Church in Miami and before that at Yale University and teaches leadership at the Hartford Seminary. As an elder, she is passionately concerned about leaving the next generation well-prepared for all they have to face. She has written over 35 books including Approaching End of Life: A Practical and Spiritual Guide (2015), Grace at Table: Small Spiritual Solutions to Large Material Problems, Solving Everything (2013), to her most recent book I Heart Francis: Letters to the Pope from an Unlikely Admirer (2016), among many others.

The Rail has a tradition of ending our conversations with a poetry reading, and we’re fortunate to have Joy Priest reading.

Joy Priest

Joy Priest
Joy Priest is a writer from Louisville, KY. Her book HORSEPOWER was selected as winner of the Donald Hall Prize for Poetry. Her work has appeared in Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, Poets & Writers, and many others. She is a doctoral student at the University of Houston.

❤️ 🌈 We'd like to thank the The Terra Foundation for American Art for making these daily conversations possible, and for their support of our growing archive.