The sessions include:
Still I Rise: Women Writing Women’s Stories
“Still I Rise: Women Writing Women’s Stories” will feature a book conversation with Robin White, author of “Beauty in my Bones.” White is the inaugural National Park Service superintendent of the Central High School National Historic Site. During the event, White will share memories and experiences from her personal journey and professional life. Author, literary coach and publisher Janis F. Kearney will lead the discussion with White. A question-and-answer session, facilitated by Courtney Bradford, curator of collections at MTCC, will follow the conversation.
“Beauty in My Bones: Honoring the Women of My Clan” is an autobiography showcasing White’s childhood as a poor orphan and how she triumphed over adversity and abuse. White found stability and love in her Yaya (mother) and learned to observe, be still and hear the “soft quiet voice within.”
White, who is Gullah, Geechee and Creole, is a human and civil rights activist and organizer who is internationally recognized. She is a historian and educator who has collaborated with civil rights museums and organizations across the U.S. and globally. She is an established author, poet and leader whose motto is “not only to live with a purpose, but despite, live on purpose.”
White earned her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and her master’s degree in Leadership, Public Policy and Social Issues. She is pursuing a doctorate in Theology and Divinity. She has lived in Arkansas since 2008.
Still We Rise: The Saving Graces of our Mothers’ Messages
10 a.m. to noon
“Still We Rise: The Saving Graces of our Mothers’ Messages” will be a celebration of women, their lives and their stories in poetry, prose, music and visual art. The program will celebrate a diverse and intergenerational cross section of women who share unique stories of their challenges, life lessons, victories and dreams.
Genine LaTrice Perez, renowned Arkansas singer, will perform during this event to set the tone for this celebration of women.
During the event, Arkansas author and literary coach Janis F. Kearney will facilitate a writing session around the theme “Childhood Messages from our Mothers,” followed by a story-sharing exercise to include the childhood messages women received from the other women — mothers, grandmothers, aunts, siblings, family friends and strangers. These powerful stories will include nonverbal messages about the meaning of womanhood. The program will close with each participant being invited to share, in one sentence, “What it means to be a Woman.”
Still I Rise: Arkansas Women Share COVID-19 Survival Stories
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“Still I Rise: Arkansas Women Share Covid-19 Survival Stories” will focus on writing, preserving and sharing stories related to the current pandemic from women’s point of views. Janis F. Kearney, author and literary coach, will lead a one-hour writing exercise, in which participants will be asked to share their stories of surviving, and even thriving, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Program facilitators will include Janet Perkins, Community Development Program manager for the Arts Council, Courtney Bradford, curator at MTCC, and Jaimie D. Wright, director of Development. Stories produced during the workshop may be submitted to the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center to be included in the ongoing preservation program, “COVID in Black: The African American Experience.” Submitted pieces may then be used in a future exhibition about the current pandemic.
Kearney is a writer, publisher, journalist and instructor. She was inducted into the Arkansas Writers Hall of Fame in 2016. She has penned several books and founded a publishing company, called Writing our World Publishing, or “Wow! Publishing.”
She served as publisher of the Arkansas State Press founded by civil rights legend Daisy Gatson Bates. Kearney served eight years in the Clinton Presidency as a White House media affairs specialist, then as the director of public communications for the U.S. Small Business Administration. She served the last five years of Bill Clinton’s presidency as the personal diarist to President Clinton.
The Women’s History Month series is named in honor of poet and author Maya Angelou, who lived in Stamps, Arkansas, as a child. The series is dedicated to recognizing the contributions and accomplishments of women of all backgrounds in Arkansas.
Registration for events is free. Sessions will be livestreamed to the Arkansas Arts Council’s Facebook page but participants are encouraged to register via Eventbrite and participate in the Zoom sessions directly. For more information, contact Janet Perkins, Community Development Program manager, at Janet.Perkins@Arkansas.gov or Drekkia Morning, Arts in Education Programs manager, at Drekkia.Morning@Arkansas.gov.