updates & news
In a turbulent year, [margins.] recognizes that it is still a year for our stories. Below, we share a bit of our journey in building this conference, from our vision for an in-person gathering, to how it will continue to grow and adapt.
Plus, find links to catch up with our past community events.
a letter: why we continue with a virtual space
This letter was shared on March 16, 2020, during our initial Kickstarter campaign, by Word Executive Director Viniyanka Prasad, sharing her thoughts informed by her work in the cultural space and as a public defender:
I know what you mean about taking time to think about what is most important, what priorities are most important. With the situation around us evolving so rapidly, I have been doing my best to adjust to what is obviously needed now but also to anticipate what might be most needed next.
This world is a complicated web, pulling my insides in so many directions. My thoughts have been unable to settle, thinking of high-risk family members, so many working individuals and small business owners who are left astoundingly unsupported by our systems, vulnerable inmates locked in small confines—whether the world will care if their sentences are converted to death penalties.
In some ways our little project feels just that: this one little thing, sensible enough to let go of as we make room in the life rafts. But then I don’t know. I think of what brought me to the work of cultural equity in the first place. Of the knowledge that I can spit fire in courtroom after courtroom calling for justice, but at the end of the day what I really do is beg one judge after another to maybe, maybe agree that my client is in fact a human being. Most often, I think I’ve succeeded in convincing someone to avoid disappointing me, not in ensuring that the person sitting next to me, that person whose life and liberty are at stake, is really seen.
So I now give my energy to two fronts of change that, for the time being, must coexist: the triage of demanding basic rights in an unjust penal system alongside the incomparable human connection that takes root through the arts. I think of Facebook telling me that 850 views of our simple livestream party Saturday night brought people together in a time of uncertainty and separation. I think of how many people have reminded me of the how senseless the wait has been for a medicine like [margins.].
We don’t know what’s to come. I’ve questioned continuing to ask others to invest in something that will have to adapt and change in a way I cannot know now, certainly cannot assure. But then, I think maybe what we are asking is for an investment in this thing with the very fluidity that will allow it to become what’s needed most. The fallout of crisis can entrench divides: those artists who were most vulnerable to the financial instability of a life of creating will have the most difficult paths of return. If the way we build needs adjustment to these times, we’ll adjust; but my heart is still in making [margins.], perhaps with a new sense of place, so that when we’re ready to start moving we’ll walk forward together.
In warmth and solidarity, Viniyanka