Special Commemorative Event: Juneteenth (Online Event)

Saturday, June 19, 2021 - 4:00pm

Sat., June 19th • 4:00pm PT • Online

Featuring Kia Corthron, Aya de Leon, Jarvis R. Givens (submission read by Ernest Jolly), Anita Gail Jones, Julie Lythcott-Haims, Rhonda V. Magee, Jason Mott (submission read by Grayson Mayne), Zach Norris (submission read by Chris Bass), Amelia Ray, Anna Malaika Tubbs, & September Williams

Moderated by Paula Farmer


This event will be broadcast live and does not require registration to attend. To view, click the "Watch Here" button at the time of the event, or subscribe to our e-newsletter to receive a ten-minute reminder.

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, is a holiday commemorating the emancipation of those who were enslaved in the United States. Until very recently, this historical milestone, which originated in Texas, was only observed in that state. Thankfully and rightfully, it is garnering more attention, official recognition and celebrated annually on June 19th throughout the country. Unsurprisingly, many Black writers, authors, and activists are embracing and elevating this special demarkation of the end of slavery. As such, Book Passage is giving a platform to invited guest writers of acclaim to share their thoughtful reflections about Juneteenth, through the written and spoken word. Please access these commemorative written pieces on our website, and on Saturday, June 19 at 4:00pm, join us for a special presentation when some of those writers will present their essays as spoken word.

Below is information on the guest participants. We encourage you to peruse their accomplishments and become familiar with their book titles, which are available for in-store and online purchase at Book Passage. This first-of-its-kind event for Book Passage has been carefully and lovingly curated by Paula Farmer, who will moderate the online event.

Participants (in alphebetical order)


Kia Corthron is a playwright and novelist. She is the author of The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter which was released by Seven Stories Press in 2016 and awarded The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. She is also the author of the forthcoming Moon and the Mars. Her plays have been produced in New York, across the U.S. and internationally.

Aya de Leon is an acclaimed writer of prose and poetry. She directs the Poetry for the People program, teaching creative writing at UC Berkeley. She is known for award-winning feminist heist/romance series, Justice Hustlers, and her latest book, A Spy in the Struggle, was released earlier this year with great anticipation. She first came to national attention as a spoken-word artist in the underground poetry scene.

Submission presented by Ernest Jolly
Jarvis R. Givens is an assistant professor of education of African & African American Studies at Harvard University. He specializes in the history of African American Education and his first book, Fugitive Pedagogy: Carter G. Woodson and the Art of Black Teaching was released this year. Professor Givens earned his Ph.D. in African American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.


In addition to her work as a storyteller, visual artist and writer, in 2002, Anita Gail Jones and her husband, Rob Roehrick, founded the Gaines-Jones Education Foundation, awarding need-based college scholarships to Black students in southwest Georgia and the San Francisco Bay Area in memory of her mother, sister, and father.
Julie Lythcott-Haims believes in humans and is deeply interested in what gets in our way. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the anti-helicopter parenting manifesto How to Raise an Adult, which gave rise to a TED Talk that has more than 5 million views. Her second book is the award-winning prose poetry memoir Real American, which illustrates her experience as a Black and biracial person in white spaces. Her most recent book, Your Turn: How to Be an Adult, helps humans lead a more authentic adulthood. Julie is a former corporate lawyer and Stanford dean.
Rhonda V. Magee is a Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco and an internationally-recognized thought and practice leader focused on integrating mindfulness into higher education, law, and social change work. A prolific author, she draws on law and legal history to weave storytelling, poetry, analysis, and practices into inspiration for changing how we think, act and live better together in a rapidly changing world. Rhonda is the author of numerous articles and book chapters on mindfulness in legal education, and on teaching about race using mindfulness. Her first book, The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities Through Mindfulness, was featured at a Book Passage event in 2020.
Submission presented by Grayson Mayne
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jason Mott lives in southeastern North Carolina. He has a BFA in Fiction and an MFA in Poetry. He is the author of three novels: The Returned, The Wonder of All Things, and The Crossing. The Returned, Jason’s debut novel, was adapted for television for ABC under the title Resurrection. Jason’s fourth novel, Hell Of A Book, will be released on August 10, 2021 and is available for pre-order.
Submission presented by Chris Bass
Zach Norris is the Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and co-founder of Restore Oakland, a community advocacy and training center that will empower Bay Area community members to transform local economic and justice systems and make a safe and secure future possible for themselves and for their families. In addition to being a Harvard graduate and NYU-educated attorney, Zach is also a graduate of the Labor Community Strategy Center’s National School for Strategic Organizing in Los Angeles, California. His second book, Defund Fear is a blueprint of how to hold people accountable while still holding them in community. The result reinstates full humanity and agency for everyone who has been dehumanized and traumatized so they can participate fully in life, in society, and in the fabric of our democracy.

Amelia Ray is a writer, composer, singer, multi-instrumentalist, arranger, producer, and performance artist. Ray has self-produced seven albums and several singles across different musical genres, and her work has been featured in compilation albums and on film soundtracks. From March-May 2020 she organised The Quarantuned Music Festival—a series of 24-hour, worldwide, virtual music festival to benefit artists affected by COVID-19 cancellations. Her latest single "Hambone Says" uses contemporary past aesthetic to explore racism, rage and role reversal in the U.S. Go to ameliaray.net for her music and more information.

Anna Malaika Tubbs is an author, advocate, educator, and scholar who is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at the University of Cambridge. Anna has published articles on topics ranging from celebrating motherhood to addressing the forced sterilization of Black women as well as the importance of feminism, intersectionality, and inclusivity. Her work has been featured in TIME Magazine, the Huffington Post, and more. Her first book, titled The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr, Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation, is a New York Times’ Editors Pick, and has achieved widespread acclaim.
September Williams is an American physician-writer, bioethicist and filmmaker. She is the author of the novels Chasing Mercury and Weighing Lead, forthcoming in Winter 2022, as well as the nonfiction book The Elephant in the Room: Bioethical Concerns in Human Milk Banking. All of her work seeks a better understanding of and between ourselves. And, yes, she is named for a song.

Moderating the event is Book Passage’s Paula Farmer. In addition to curating events for social discourse and change, Paula is a features writer, and hosts the “Speaking Of” interview series on Instagram in which she regularly talks with BIPOC authors, artists, and activists on topical issues. She is the Chairperson of the Diversity and Inclusion subcommittee of CALIBA and was recently selected for the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee for the American Booksellers Association.


Kia Corthron photo courtesy of courtesy of Seven Stories Press; Aya de Leon photo courtesy of author; Jarvis R. Givens photo courtesy of author; Julie Lythcott-Haims photo by ComePlum; Anita Gail Jones photo courtesy of author; Rhonda V. Magee photo courtesy of author; Jason Mott photo by Michael Becker; Zach Norris photo by Demi Chang; Amelia Ray photo courtesy of author; Anna Malaika Tubbs photo courtesy of author; Larry Ward photo by Jovelle Tamayo



The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter: A Novel Cover Image
for information about purchasing this book, please contact orders@bookpassage.com
ISBN: 9781609808075
Published: Seven Stories Press - October 17th, 2017

Your Turn: How to Be an Adult Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250137777
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - April 6th, 2021

The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities Through Mindfulness Cover Image
By Rhonda V. Magee, Jon Kabat-Zinn (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9780593083925
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: TarcherPerigee - September 17th, 2019

Hell of a Book: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593330968
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dutton - June 29th, 2021

Defund Fear: Safety Without Policing, Prisons, and Punishment Cover Image
ISBN: 9780807003022
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Beacon Press - February 2nd, 2021

The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250756121
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books - February 2nd, 2021

Chasing Mercury: In the time of Mercury Poisoning Loving Someone Enough to Let Them Go is for Cowards (Chasing Mercury Toxic Trilogy #1) Cover Image
By September Williams, Susan Dalsimer (Editor), Marta Johansen (Cover Design by)
ISBN: 9780692059661
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Cove International Publishers - February 24th, 2018