I miss you all so much! Since we last touched base (Feb), I gave myself a challenge. "Kayhan, no news updates until you have creative work that you can share with others." Well …
It's the day after Noruz, Persian New Year, celebrated by people all over West and South Asia and the diaspora. Here in NYC, I finally got my fire going after the blizzard and so many regressive changes since January put a freeze on things.
This is what's making me hopeful and what I'll be working on for the next stretch of time:
The Path Home: multimedia story project bringing out voices of immigrants who got a pathway to citizenship during our nation's first and only legalization program in 1986.
We're creating a public engagement format to use the video in a dynamically structured setting where audience members can enter into a conversation with the stories of the past.
Want to see this come alive? We need support to fully build the model, test it with our community partners, and take it on the road. Contact me if you can help.
Dialogue. We need it, lots of it. Reach out if there are ways I can help you structure, design, or facilitate community dialogues on pressing issues. Every group, organization, and space can do this. With a little attention and help you can grow beautiful new community connections.
Myself and a group of Immigrant heritage women are creating a series of home learning circles to build mutual support networks for immigrant and refugee rights. We need help to get this off the ground. If you are interested, we'd love to hear from you.
May warmth and tenderness enter the little spaces inside you and heal what hurts.
May those spaces sprout flowers for the new day.
My newest project, Documented cIRCA 86: Immigration Reform Turns Thirty (cIRCA '86) is an oral history and multimedia public engagement project that celebrates the lives and accomplishments of immigrants who were legalized through the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986.
3 exciting things below! My writing, an event at the NYC Municipal Archives, and the Muslim Women's Story Lab moves forward!
Here's a little excerpt to get you interested:
"So I look down at my feet. My sandals are touching ground where Diego Rivera once stood, or sat, or walked by. I’m pulled into a world which, when he was creating it, was all but banned subject matter. Poor people’s lives, indigenous lives, didn’t matter. He made space, literally, by painting giant public murals that projected the sound and color, history and memory of poor and working class people in Mexico. And he showed not only what he knew to be true, and beautiful, but what he knew had power to change the world." Read on ...
And here in New York, I'm making the final preparations for a discussion at the NYC Municipal Archives on the history of sterilization abuse in NYC and the struggle for change.
Thursday, July 9, 2015
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Please RSVP to: email@example.com
31 Chambers Street, New York, NY 10007
We have a terrific panel and will be displaying archival materials from the women's own collections. Here is one example of what you'll see:
Last but not least, I got great news that the Muslim Women's Story Lab is going to move forward this fall! Stay tuned for updates.
Have a wonderful Independence Day. It's time to get free!
I went to a wonderful talk last night organized by the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance on reclaiming feminisms at the grassroots. The inspirational speaker, Sandra Moran, spoke about planting. The first part of creating something new is developing an idea, planting a seed. To do that, you must reclaim what is yours and decide that territory will be where something new can grow.
Standing on the foundation created by the wonderful readings in London this past December, I am pleased to report that my play, Tree of Seeds, will have a reading in NYC next week!! Please come out to hear it, I’d love to connect with people interested in producing new voices, new stories, and non-traditional formats. Please come out to hear it, I’d love to connect with people interested in producing new voices, new stories, and non-traditional formats.
Sometimes I wonder if everything I’ve thought of, everything I’m thinking of, has been thought before. Often, it’s in bouts of depression and my conclusion is that I’m probably useless and unoriginal. (Yes, I am being a bit dramatic but that’s me!) These last few months, however, when I reflect on the originality of my being (how embarrassing) I have been grateful for all the thinking that has come before me. Millions of people, doing the best they could, have lived lives and laid the groundwork for me to do what I do. Being immersed in the world of craft, it is starting to make more and more sense that originality isn’t highly prized. It’s nice, but it isn’t the point.
What is the experience of time? Sun up to sun down; the phases of the moon; an 8-hour workday; the passing of a birthday; the harvest; the sowing; the completion of a thought? The time for group remembering, the communal gatherings and the personal, internal time; we live between the two. My time in India so far has been a weaving between the two forms – personal and collective.