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Freedom Forums

We invite you to join a statewide movement to use literature to examine the cracks in the liberty bell at this time when there is such an urgency of empathy now in our land.  

Date: November 9th, 2019

Time: 12:30pm 6pm 

Location: Stony Brook University - Charles B. Wang Center 

100 Nicolls Rd. #302 Stony Brook, NY 11794

Click here for flyer & Program Schedule

Click here to see our growing list of Freedom Forum partners

Can memoir become a tool for action?   Is there a way that a living literature by those whose voices have been silenced can make its way into the canon-- to be taught in high schools, colleges and universities; to be circulated side by side with the writings of those who are already acknowledged by the establishment?  

Can the stories of those who are vulnerable and isolated be shaped in a way that even the most hard-hearted legislator, court judge, immigration officer or prison guard will be startled into rethinking policy and practice?   Could the power structure be righted if a literature that forced every reader to walk in the storyteller’s shoes was made part of the culture?   

Now is our Turn for Sept 13 painting.jpg

Painting created by Gwynne Duncan-

As the Long Island representative of a state-wide initiative coordinated by the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy, Herstory Writers workshop will partner with the Humanities Institute of Stony Brook University, Building Bridges in Brookhaven, and People Power of Patchogue, to stage a day-long Freedom Forum, featuring grass roots literature produced by Long Island’s most vulnerable and isolated populations.  

​​We will convene this Island-Wide Forum at the Charles B. Wang Center of Stony Brook University on Saturday, November 9th, with the goal of attracting over a hundred people representing vulnerable communities, along with members of government, human services, the arts and academia, building on Herstory’s extensive experience in bringing together large groups coming from all sides of the power structure to hear inspirational readings and then daring them to express how they would tell their own stories.

​A selection of Herstory readings will be followed with a Town Hall style group interaction around how to shape one’s personal story into a literary work that will help mend the bridges in communities torn apart by violence and hatred.  Each new story shaped aloud will help give voice to another, leading to a writing break and a re-convening in which the story openings will be shared, culminating in a call to action. 

​The over-arching goal is to bring together members of Long Island’s hidden communities who are witness to or victims of the rise in hate crimes, racism and endangerment of immigrants in our current climate, and to engage them in shaping their stories into an online publication. The stories will be used as sermons in churches, mosques, and synagogues and included in Herstory’s new digital archive housed in Hofstra University’s Special Collections.

Freedom Forums is a multi-regional, multi-disciplinary series of events in New York City, the Adirondacks and Long Island that uses literature as a prompt to explore the ideas, ideals, flaws and contradictions of democracy. Anchored at Federal Hall National Memorial, on Wall Street, in Manhattan, Freedom Forums rekindles a role that the site served historically by providing a safe and open forum for public debate. 

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