Mamayan Jabateh & Achy Obejas
"I am a Refugee"
Mamayan and Achy will discuss the obstacles of immigrating to a new country, what refugee status means, and the opportunities and difficulties leaving home presents.
Saturday, June 12, 2021
10:00 - 11:00 am CT
Mamayan Jabateh (b. 2003, Monrovia, Liberia) came to Chicago as an immigrant at the age of ten. She is a writer, a reader, and an activist for social change. Throughout high school, Jabateh advocated for youth voices in the larger political conversations and immersed herself in dialogues about immigration laws, Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ+ rights, and indigenous culture. She has worked with youth programs such as Mikva Challenge's Youth Safety advisory council and political officials like Jadine Chou to advocate for police reform and accountability. As an advocate for youth voices, she led her own youth program at her school and was the director of outreach for Chicago's largest non-profit organization, Bridge Tutoring. In the future, Jabateh hopes to work for the United Nations to encourage humane foreign interactions and enforce foreign laws. Mamayan Jabateh recently graduated from Chicago Math and Science Academy and will be continuing her education as a prospective International relations and economics student at the University of Chicago.
In 1962, at the age of six, Achy Obejas and her family escaped Cuba on a small boat that was rescued off the shores of Florida. Her family eventually settled in Michigan City, IN, and now, almost 60 years later, she is a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, award-winning fiction and poetry author, and sought-after translator. Obejas is the author of The Tower of the Antilles, which was nominated for a PEN/Faulkner award, among other honors. Her novels include Ruins and Days of Awe, which was a Los Angeles Times Best Books of the Year. Her poetry chapbook, This is What Happened in Our Other Life, was both a critical hit and a national best-seller. As a translator, Obejas has worked with Wendy Guerra, Rita Indiana, Junot Díaz, and Megan Maxwell, among others. She is the recipient of a USA Artists Fellowship, an NEA, and a Cintas fellowship, among other awards, and is currently a writer/editor for Netflix. Her newest book, Boomerang/Bumerán, a bilingual poetry collection using bold gender-free languages, is being published by Beacon Press in September. Obejas lives in the San Francisco Bay area.
CASETalks is a monthly online series that happens every second Saturday at 10:00 am CT via Zoom. Artists are in conversation with curators, historians & other CASE partners.
CASETalks is sponsored by the Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation
Above photos: Mamayan / Achy