Panel | Trauma, Tresses and Truth: Untangling Our Hair Through Personal Narrative
Presented in partnership with the San Francisco Public Library
Contributors to Trauma, Tresses, & Truth, relate their true, often shocking encounters while wearing natural hair. Featuring Dr. Adrienne Danyelle Oliver, Barbara Ruth Saunders, Kathryn Seabron and Lyzette Wanzer.
Particularly relevant during this time of emboldened white supremacy, racism and oppressive othering, their work explores how writing about one of the still-remaining systemic biases in academic and corporate America might lead to greater understanding and respect.
In her essay “Is Your Hair Still Political?” writer and civil rights activist Audre Lorde explains how she nearly missed a Caribbean vacation because an immigration officer objected to her dreadlocks. Black women’s natural hair remains political and persecuted even now.
Lyzette Wanzer, MFA is a San Francisco writer, editor, and creative writing workshop instructor. Wanzer’s work reflects the peri-racial, social, and economic experiences of African-Americans and others. A flash fiction connoisseur and essay aficionado, Wanzer’s work has appeared in Callaloo, Tampa Review, Natural Bridge among others. Wanzer is a contributor to The Chalk Circle: Intercultural Prizewinning Essays (Wyatt-MacKenzie), Essay Daily, The Naked Truth, and the San Francisco University High School Journal. Wanzer has been awarded writing residencies at the Headlands Center for the Arts (CA), Blue Mountain Center (NY), Kimmel Harding Center for the Arts (NE) among others. Wanzer is the recipient of an Investing in Artists grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation, four Individual Artist Commission grants from San Francisco Arts Commission, four Professional Development Grants from the Creative Capacity Fund, and a California Humanities grant.
Connect with Lyzette Wanzer – Website
Dr. Adrienne Danyelle Oliver, MFA is a writer, hip-hop scholar and educator living in Oakland, CA. Oliver’s natural hair journey began in 2004 while living in Little Rock, AR, where negative perceptions of natural hair were alive and well at the time. Oliver survived her early career as a scholar transitioning to twists, then a ‘fro, and ultimately arrived at dreadlocks. Oliver ’s academic work appears in Storytelling, Self, and Society, and Systemic Collapse. Oliver uses creative writing to theorize about a more just education system that honors hip-hop culture. Oliver’s creative work has been published in Digital Paper and The Womanist. Oliver has been a VONA fellow and leads a virtual writing and healing circle for Black women. Beyond her work as an interdisciplinary, Oliver mentors other educators as a Bay Area Writing Project Teacher Consultant, training others to use hip-hop sensibilities to cultivate imaginative and inclusive instructional practices.
Connect with Dr. Adrienne Danyelle Oliver, MFA – LinkedIn
Barbara Ruth Saunders is a writer, editor, and writing coach. Saunders works as a technical writer, leads workshops on process and craft, and writes poetry and memoir. Saunders’ is at work on Dead Dreams, an account of following the Grateful Dead. Saunders chopped off the relaxer in 1994 and hasn’t had a hair cut since Jerry Garcia died.
Connect with Barbara Ruth Saunders – Website
Kathryn Seabron is an activist and raconteur, artist and performer who feels that Black women are fighting for their humanity. Black women are demanding to be seen, heard, valued and respected. Seabron is the writer and performer of Angry Black Woman, Seabron’s solo show chronicles misogynoir–the patent hatred of Black women–that has compelled Seabron to shed light on the racism and sexism that infects our daily life.
Connect with Kathryn Seabron – Facebook
This program is presented in partnership with the San Francisco Public Library