Mosaic Literary Conference 2015


This year’s conference will focus on the #BlackLivesMatter teachable moments, social and artistic movements that have risen out of Ferguson, MO, Baltimore, MD. and other police and community actions.

11:00-11:15 Introduction

11:15-12:00pm: #BLACKLIVESMATTER: Back then, Now, and the Future
Facilitated by Clairesa Clay
This session presents a cinematic visualization of the journey of the African Diaspora through a historical timeline of images juxtaposing the past with the current state of revolution and movement inspired by Black Lives Matter.   Filmmakers armed with cameras document the 21st century injustice to the Black community through a modern lens that leaves a question of how Black communities will change and embrace a future of safeness.

Short Film Screening
The Idiot's Guide to the Black Revolution by Melissa V. Murray, 2.34 minutes
Shut Down by Christian Smooth, 6.11 minutes
Palimpsest by Christopher Lutterodt-Quarcoo, 5.54 minutes
P.S. I Can't Breathe by Rochelle White, 20 minutes
Sandra Blank:  Ain't I a Woman by Madam Prezident, 3.30 minutes
A Scribe Called Quess?  Jason Richard Allan Foster, 4.39 minutes
Indictment by Sydnee Monday, 11.45 minutes

12:00-1:00pm: Conversation
Filmmakers Melissa V. Murray, Founder and CEO, The Cynical Owl and Christian Smooth will join facilitator Clairesa Clay for a discussion and Q&A about their films.

1:30-2:30: Lunch

Afternoon Sessions will be led by Black Poets Speak Out (BPSO)
Black Poets Speak Out began as a response to a conversation initiated by Amanda Johnston. Jericho Brown, Mahogany Browne, Jonterri Gadson and Sherina Rodriguez-Sharpe responded to the call with ideas, suggestions and various plans of action. What resulted was a hashtag video campaign house on a tumblr site featuring hundreds of videos from Black poets reading in response to the grand jury’s decision on November 24 not to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who murdered Mike Brown. View sample readings online at 

2:30-3:30: Lesson Plan Presentation – Black Poets Speak Out Classroom
Ellen Hagan and Amanda Johnston
Over the past year, BPSO has rallied poets and allies to stand up and speak out from the page, stage, podium, and street. We’ve collected many of the poems shared in protest and created lesson plans to help guide classroom discussions on poetry of witness and resistance. This presentation is for educators looking to inject new ideas and activities focused on craft and social justice engagement into their workshops.

3:30-4:30: From Hashtag to Social Justice Movement #BlackPoetsSpeakOut
J.P. HowardAmanda Johnston, and Katy Rickey
In the wake of a grand jury failing to indict Darren Wilson in the murder of Mike Brown, Black Poets Speak Out was launched as a way to rally poets and allies to respond against police violence. In a short time, hundreds of poetry videos were posted and shared internationally across social media outlets and live readings, forums, and action events were produced. BPSO organizers, Amanda Johnston and Mahogany L. Browne, and regional coordinators, J.P. Howard and Katy Richey, will discuss how the online campaign was developed and progressed to a community action based movement.

4:30-5:00: Reading – #BlackPoetsSpeakOut
A poetic protest open to community poets and allies to stand up and speak out against police violence. All are welcome to read a poem by a black poet that speaks to issues around police violence and/or justice & equality.

The Mosaic Literary Conference is presented by the Literary Freedom Project is a 501c3 tax-exempt nonprofit arts organization that seeks to restore the importance of reading books as an essential tool for creating intelligent, productive, and engaged young people.

Presenting Sponsor: Caribbean Cultural. Media sponsors include (The African American Literature Book Club), NY Writers Coalition, Total Equity Now - Harlem. La Casa Azul Bookstore is the official bookseller of the Mosaic Literary Conference.