The Virginia G. Piper
Center for Creative Writing

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Creative Justice Youth Symposium with Aliento, RE:Frame Youth Arts Center, Kay Ulanday Barrett

Date(s): Tuesday through Thursday, July 14 - 16, 2020
Community Event, Open Mic, Panel, Reading, Workshop
Genre and Form(s): Community, Human Rights, Poetry, Social Justice
Cost: Free

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About this Event

As the world awakens to injustice, we must all work together to build a strong foundation on which to rebuild a more just world. The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University is proud to sponsor the first annual Creative Justice Youth Symposium, Tuesday through Thursday, June 14 - 16, 2020 on Zoom. Each day will consist of a workshop and community open mic.

Presented in partnership with Aliento and RE:Frame Youth Arts Center, the symposium will center on creative writing as a skill for resilience and community building through workshops, panels, and community open mics. The symposium is open to youth ages 13 - 24.

  • Tuesday, July 14: "Words that Heal" with Aliento
  • Wednesday, July 15: "The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action" with RE:Frame Youth Arts Center
  • Thursday, July 16: "Undoing to become: uplifting the body, living the word" with Kay Ulanday Barrett

Each workshop takes place at 11:00 a.m. Each open mic takes place at 6:00 p.m. Sign-ups for the open mic can only be accessed during the workshop. Open mics will be live-streamed on the Piper Center's Facebook page.

Workshops are open to youth ages 13-24. If you are not a youth, we kindly ask you refrain from signing up, and instead support youth, by checking out the live-stream. All events and programs are and free open to the public. More information about each workshop can be found below.

If you have any questions about the Symposium, or are an educator or adult working with a youth serving organization and wish to learn more about Piper Outreach Programs please email M. McDonough at

Please note: while this event is free and open to the public, you must register through Eventbrite to receive the Zoom link. Space is first-come, first-served. Doors will open at 10:50 AM. Attendance will be capped at 30 guests in order to allow everyone the opportunity to speak. Registrations do not guarantee or reserve seats. The Zoom link for each workshop can be found in the online event page. If you have any questions or require different forms of access, please reach out to Community Outreach Coordinator M. McDonough at

About the Workshops

Tuesday, July 14: Words that Heal with Aliento
There are different parts to stories, but whether you find yourself in the middle of a chapter in your life or at the beginning of a new one, your story matters. These days we are constantly being told who we are from news outlets, peers, institutions, etc. You have the power to take back your narrative and share the unique and powerful aspects you believe are true to you. Join us for a workshop exploring the healing nature of writing as we reflect on the moment and explore the diversity and resiliency of our stories and communities.

Wednesday, July 15: The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action with RE:Frame Youth Arts Center

How do we break silences in order to mobilize individuals in a collective movement? As writers and poets, what is the truth of what we speak? Join Gizela Hernandez, Ashley Hare, Hadiyah Muhammad, Megan Atencia, and Sylvia Dale for a panel discussion around culture and ancestry in silence.


Thursday, July 16: Undoing to become: uplifting the body, living the word with Kay Ulanday Barrett

Kay Ulanday Barrett will delve into topics of self-testimony in this interdisciplinary workshop of performance, writing, and story telling from perspectives that center QTPOC as living archive and cultural resistance. Participants will share narratives they’ve been told of truth and transformation. How do we move collectively to reclaim and invent empowering stories for stronger visions and action? How do we channel stories that impact us as surviving and communities in struggle? What does artistic prep and aftercare feel like when telling resistance stories? What does spiritual support and aftercare look like when committed to political art? Self-care is only the beginning when systemic oppression gets you hella down. Resources on self-care, Art by Queer and Transgender Black, Indigenous, and People of Color will be highlighted and explored. Cultural work is visceral work. Workshop participants are asked to dress in comfortable clothing, and to bring their journals and/or writing materials.

About the Author

A stylized puff of air in blue on a pink background with the word "Aliento" underneath in white

We are a community organization that is DACA, undocumented, and youth-led. We are directly impacted people and allies who are invested in the well being, emotional healing, and leadership development of those impacted by the inequalities of lacking an immigration status.

We envision youth and children having access to transformative experiences where they are co-create spaces of healing and are trained to become agents of change in their communities. Our hope at Aliento is to reshape the image of who immigrants are and shine a light on the unheard voices of our society.

We imagine a world where healing and reconciliation is the norm, a world where everyone’s humanity is at the core and is the driving force, where we seek collective problem-solving when harm is done.

At Aliento, we create community healing through art that leads to collective people power.  We create art that reflects the humanity of undocumented immigrants who have been criminalized by the harsh and unjust U.S. detention and deportation system.

Through community building spaces, leadership development, and art creation, we seek to shift the U.S. society away from the belief that punitive practices lead to justice and safety for our society.  

Through art we heal and build power to reimagine a community without a punitive system, where we create a healing and learning space instead of punishment and blame.

RE:Frame Youth Arts Center

We are reshaping the relationship between youth and adults with a dedication to ending Adultism, the systematic mistreatment and disrespect of young people. We are a youth arts and liberation center in South Phoenix using the arts to reframe spaces and conversations that invisibilize youth from participating in policy and programming creation that directly affects their lives. We are a collaborative home to Phoenix youth and their adult accomplices to holistically serve young people through arts & culture, the humanities, civic leadership, health & wellness, and enterprise.​

Photograph of Kay Ulanday Barrett

Kay Ulanday Barrett aka @brownroundboi, is a poet, performer, and educator, navigating life as a disabled pilipinx amerikan transgender queer in the U.S. K. has featured globally; Princeton University, UC Berkeley, The Lincoln Center, Queens Museum, The Chicago Historical Society, NY Poetry Festival, Dodge Poetry Foundation, The Hemispheric Institute, & National Queer Arts Festival. They are a 3x Pushcart Prize nominee and has received fellowships from Lambda Literary Review, VONA/Voices, The Home School, and Drunken Boat. Their contributions are found in Asian American Literary Review, PBS News Hour, NYLON, The Margins, RaceForward, Foglifter, The Deaf Poets Society, Poor Magazine,, Trans Bodies/Trans Selves, Winter Tangerine, Apogee, Entropy, Colorlines, Everyday Feminism, Them., The Advocate, and Bitch Magazine. They have contributions in the anthologies, Subject To Change (Sibling Rivalry Press), Outside the XY: Queer Black & Brown Masculinity (Magnus Books), and Writing the Walls Down: A Convergence of LGBTQ Voices (Trans-genre Press). They are currently a guest editor at Nat.Brut, 2018 Lambda Literary Review, Writer-In-Residence in Poetry, and 2018 guest faculty for The Poetry Foundation & Crescendo Literary. When The Chant Comes (Topside Press, 2016) is their first collection of poetry.

Photograph of Reyna Montoya in a front of a prickly pear cactus

Reyna was born in Tijuana, Mexico and migrated to Arizona in 2003 fleeing violence. She is an undocumented/DACAmented social entrepreneur, community organizer, educator, and dancer. She is a 2016 Soros Justice Fellow, which enable her to start Aliento. She is also a founding member of the first Teach For America DACA Advisory Board. Reyna holds bachelor degrees in Political Science and Transborder Studies and a Dance minor from Arizona State University; she also holds a M.Ed in Secondary Education from Grand Canyon University. She recently completed an executive education program from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She has engaged in local, statewide and national platforms to advance justice for immigrant communities. In 2013, she was the lead organizer, who prevented an immigration bus of undocumented immigrants from deportation in Phoenix, AZ for the first time in the nation’s history. In the same year, with the help of the community, she stopped her father’s deportation. She was also recognized as 2017 #NBCLatino20 and the Muhammad Ali Center as the 2018 Humanitarian Recipient for Spirituality. She hopes to share her talents and skills with the community to co-create healing spaces, political change, and leadership development of our immigrant youth and migrant families.

Nathalie Guevara

Nathalie Guevara Martinez was born and raised in Phoenix, AZ after her parents immigrated from Mexico. She recently received her Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience from Pomona College and is also very passionate about the arts. In her studies, she explored the intersection of science and the arts by looking at how our brain responds and heals through art, specifically how music affects the brain, accesses memories, and creates a tool for learning and recovery in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Throughout her time in college, she was a student activist supporting several organizations that focused on language barriers in the healthcare industry, arts accessibility in low-income communities, and coalitions that worked on keeping undocumented families together. In her free time, she likes dancing and going to karaoke (even though she isn’t the best at either, but as Aliento says “courage over talent”). She hopes to continue exploring healing through the arts in her communities here in Arizona and increasing accessibility to these spaces and methods.