The Womxn Project Education Fund has been honored to work with this amazing range of organizations, scholars and artists. Learn more about them all below!
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Contributors and Organizations
AGONZA is a Latina Activist Artist and Providence native who as a child was in and out of DCYF system. She then spent 8 of her teenage years living in the Dominican Republic. In her early years of muralism, she has displayed work at shows in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, and won 2017- and 2018-People’s Choice Awards at the Salem Mural Slam. She then has been on multiple newsletters and front pages. In 2020 AGONZA was Breaking News in Providence RI for the George Floyd and Brianna Taylor BLM protest. Where businesses began boarding up their store fronts due to riots. AGONZA was one of the first artist to paint on a wooden panel to demonstrate her solidarity with the Nation for support of Police Brutality. Then in 2021 AGONZA made History in Providence Housing Authorities to paint 2 exterior wall on the residency building.
AGONZA has been a social worker since 2014 as her daytime job. Nights and weekends, she creates murals around the city to create conversation on topics of concerns. She also is a Board member at the Avenue Concept since 2019. She continues to use her knowledge with social working and her personal life to connect with her community. She shares all her artwork via Social media Platforms mostly on INSTAGRAM where she is known as @AGONZAART.
Deborah Baronas studied textile design at the Rhode Island School of Design and worked in the industry in NYC, LA and Europe.
As an artist she explores the condition of the American worker, creating interactive environments through painting, video and printed fabric scrims.
Deborah works as a design consultant and artist in Rhode Island.
Devon Blow’s primary focus is to inspire and empower vulnerable, marginalized, neglected and disenfranchised communities; and to celebrate cultural expression in all forms. Through support from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, Devon will create images that will be projected on buildings in Woonsocket for The Womxn Project’s Illuminating the Legacy of Slavery in Rhode Island. www.whatsgoodhomegirl.com
Tammy Brown is a life-long Rhode Islander dedicated to making the state a better and more just place to live. She is a theatre-maker and art director to the Contemporary Theater Company in Wakefield, RI, which runs the gamut from activist social justice-oriented art pieces to Shakespeare productions and human statues. Tammy helps to lead The Womxn Project’s ARTivist efforts and co-directing/creating the “RI for All” video series to utilize the power of art to shift conversations.
Marlon “Inphynit” Carey is a Poet Educator Artist Communicator Entertainer. He has a BFA in Creative Writing from St. Andrews Presbyterian College. He was born in Jamaica, and grew up between Brooklyn, NY and Dorchester, MA. He lives in Providence Rhode Island with his wife, two children, two dogs and a cat.
Catia is from Providence Rhode Island and is a proud Afro-Latina, representing her Dominican heritage on and off the stage. She is a storyteller, actress, educator, and writer. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a BFA in Theatre and a concentration in Acting (2018).
Catia has been acting locally since she graduated and became a resident artist at Burbage Theater Co in December 2019. Some previous roles of hers include: Benny in Tanta Bulla ¿y Pa Que? (Teatro en el Verano RILA/Trinity 19’), Amina in Dance Nation (Wilbury ’19), and Celimene in The School for Lies (Burbage 19’) and various other roles. She won the Motif for Best Supporting Actress in 2019 for Eurydice in Polaroid Stories by Naomi Izuka.
In college Catia had the opportunity to write and direct her own one act called Scared Straight, which she dreams of turning into a comedic series. It was also in college that she began to write what will become her first full length play, GOOD, which deals with themes of class disparities, income inequality and the school to prison pipeline through the scope of an Afro-LatinX family.
With her art Catia hopes to tell diverse stories because if art is a reflection of life, then art needs to broaden its horizons.
The Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice (CSSJ) at Brown University is a scholarly research center with a public humanities mission.
Recognizing that racial slavery was central to the historical formation of the Americas and the modern world, the CSSJ creates a space for the interdisciplinary study of the historical forms of slavery while also examining how these legacies continue to shape our contemporary world.
The Center has initiated joint projects with universities and museums around the world and fostered relationships with high school educators across the nation. Through its research, exhibitions, convenings, and curriculum, the Center has become a leading institution for understanding how slavery’s legacy directly impacts all of our lives, yet is“hidden in plain sight.”
Christy Clark-Pujara is a historian whose research focuses on the experiences of black people in French and British North America in the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries. She is particularly interested in retrieving the hidden and unexplored histories of African Americans in areas that historians have not sufficiently examined—small towns and cities in the North and Midwest. She contends that the full dimensions of the African American and American experience cannot be appreciated without reference to how black people managed their lives in places where they were few. An absence of a large black populace did not mean that ideas of blackness were not central to the social, political, and economic development of these places. Her first book Dark Work: The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island (NYU Press, 2016), examines how the business of slavery—economic activity that was directly related to the maintenance of slaveholding in the Americas, specifically the buying and selling of people, food, and goods—shaped the experience of slavery, the process of emancipation, and the realities of black freedom in Rhode Island from the colonial period through the American Civil War. Her current book project, Black on the Midwestern Frontier: From Slavery to Suffrage in the Wisconsin Territory, 1725—1868, examines how the practice of race-based slavery, black settlement, and debates over abolition and black rights shaped white-black race relations in the Midwest.
Nehassaiu deGannes wrote and performed the one-woman-play Door of No Return when she lived in Rhode Island, having completed her MFA through the Brown University Trinity Rep program. The play gives voice to experiences of immigration, displacement, enslavement and resistance. It challenges us to remember so we may heal. Through support from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, The Womxn Project will include excerpts from The Door of No Return in our upcoming program Illuminating the Legacy of Slavery in Rhode Island. Nehassaiu will also serve as a writing advisor for the project. Save the Date – August 23 in Cranston, Providence and Woonsocket.
C. Morgan Grefe is the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Historical Society. She has been at the RIHS since 2005, serving as the Director of the Goff Center for Education and Public Programs for the first 6.5 of those years. In the summer of 2011 she took the helm of the RIHS. Her work as a historian focuses on U.S. social, cultural and public history, with special attention on R.I. She holds a Ph.D. in American Civilization from Brown and a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in the same. Her teaching fields include United States Social and Cultural History from 1865 to the Present; African-American Society and Life; the American Built Environment; and American Material Culture and Museum Studies. Her dissertation was entitled, “Museums of Order: Truth, Politics and the Interpretation of America’s Historic Prisons.” Grefe’s publications include, “ ‘Jews, Turks, and Infidels:’ How Rhode Island’s Lively Experiment Helped Chart the American Way,” “Sourcing a Rhode Island Legend: The Story of Kady Brownell,” and “The World in One Square Mile: Central Falls,” an historically-inspired children’s book. She lectures widely on topics relating to Rhode Island’s social and cultural history.
Lois Harada is a printmaker bridging fine art and commercial printing in Providence, Rhode Island. Her work utilizes commercial production techniques and equipment to create printed editions that are meant to be affordable and accessible to a wide audience. Print editions are often responses to mass produced print material created by governments, corporations or newspapers. #RenameVictoryDay is a poster campaign I created in August 2019. In 2020, I printed a larger posters carrying the hashtag and hired a plane to carry a banner with the same message over the Rhode Island beaches on August 10. Here are the posters in a Providence Journal article from August 9, 2020 and an interview featuring the banner from the day.
(Artwork photo by Rue Sakayama)
Daria-Lyric Montaquila was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island where she still is an avid activist and community organizer. She first began engagement with The Womxn Project during her senior year at the University Rhode Island and has since been made a board member in 2020. Graduating in 2018 with a BFA in acting, when she is not advocating for the abolition of an oppressive society, she spends her time performing with local theater companies. Daria’s dream is to combine social justice advocacy with performing arts, to tell those stories that are routinely (often purposely) left out and to change the narrative of whose stories are important.
Daria’s first encounter with participating in a performance concerning systemic oppression and people of colors’ plight for freedom was in the summer of 2020 when TWP put up a series of guerrilla-style projections. Her reading of Langston Hughes’ “Let America Be America Again” on July 4th in front of the Linden Place mansion in Bristol, RI sparked her interest in performative reading for justice.
While the project has grown much larger than she imagined, “Illuminating the Legacy of Slavery in Rhode Island” is a passion project that she hopes will shed light on the erasure of local history, particularly of the enslaved people who helped to build Rhode Island. Their legacy is in the infrastructure at Brown University, in the ground we walk on in Cranston, and the mills we think bring us our New England charm in South County. Daria also hopes that this series of performances will challenge us to compare the similarities of the systemic oppression our BIPOC communities face(d) then and now.
Marco A. McWilliams is a Black Studies scholar, adjunct professor, researcher and education consultant. He is a published writer, activist, and educator with nearly two decades of engaged scholarship work in convening diverse learning communities. McWilliams was the founding instructor of the influential Black Studies program at DARE (Direct Action for Rights and Equality) where his teaching focused on using the Black Radical Tradition as a point of departure to design strategies for social change.
McWilliams has taught, lectured, and workshopped broadly at colleges, middle/high schools, organizations, and in faith communities. He was a program coordinator and educator at Brown University’s Swearer Center where he was honored to be the inaugural 2017 Junior Fellow and Practitioner-in-Residence. McWilliams is a Core Faculty member at College Unbound and an adjunct professor at Rhode Island College where he teaches Intro to Black Studies as a discipline. In 2020 he accepted a mayoral appointment to the Special Committee for the Review of Commemorative Works. McWilliams has a BA in Africana Studies from Rhode Island College and is a graduate studentat at Brown University in the Department of American Studies.
NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley (NWBRV), previously known as the Woonsocket Neighborhood Development Corporation, is a nonprofit community development corporation that works with residents, businesses, neighborhood institutions, partners, and communities to enrich neighborhood life and make affordable housing opportunities available throughout Northern Rhode Island.
The Rhode Island Historical Society’s Dr. Morgan Grefe. Leading the state’s oldest and only statewide historical organization, RIHS is dedicated to honoring, interpreting, and sharing Rhode Island’s past to enrich the present and inspire the future. Founded in 1822, the RIHS is an advocate for history as a means to develop empathy and 21st-century skills, using its historical materials and knowledge to explore topics of timeless relevance and public interest. As a Smithsonian Affiliate, the RIHS is dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible public programming and educational opportunities for all Rhode Islanders through its four sites: the John Brown House Museum, the Museum of Work & Culture, the Mary Elizabeth Robinson Research Center, and the Aldrich House.
The headquarters of the Rhode Island Historical Society are located at 110 Benevolent Street, Providence, RI 02906. Information: (401) 331-8575. Follow the RIHS on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
Riverzedge Arts uses innovative applied and work-based learning strategies to teach art, design, and critical thinking to the youth of northern RI, providing our participants as well as our community with a path to economic and cultural sustainability.
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Supported in part by:
This project is made possible through major funding support from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, an independent state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Council seeds, supports, and strengthens public history, cultural heritage, civic education, and community engagement by and for all Rhode Islanders.
Funding provided in part by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, through an appropriation by the Rhode Island General Assembly, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and private funders.