CIVICKIDS: A Day of Art & Activism: Town Hall Q+A

Sunday, Oct 21, 10 am to 5 pm
At CMA, 103 Charlton Street, New York

Freedom of Speech, Freedom to Create

Sunday, October 21st

1:00 PM – 1:30 PM

A Town Hall is an event where community members can make their voices heard. Traditionally used by politicians, our Town Hall event will be guided and led by the voices of young artists. Town Hall panelists include Desmond is Amazing, Allison James, Shane Aslan Selzer and Sekou Ross-Selzer, and Aaron Philip. Kids to the front!

Panelist Bios:

Desmond is Amazing
Desmond is Amazing is an 11-year old “drag kid” from New York City. Desmond first developed an interest in drag when he was a toddler. His mother would be watching RuPaul’s Drag Race and he would stop playing with his toys in order to watch as well. He thought the drag queens were so amazing and beautiful. He made his professional drag debut in Jinkx Monsoon’s video for the “Bacon Shake” when he was just 7 years old. He continues to perform on stage and at events.

Desmond is an awarded LGBTQ+ advocate whose goal is to teach LGBTQ+ youth how to be themselves always and to pay haters no mind because they “will never be as fierce as you and I”. He has received a letter of recognition from the president of Fairleigh-Dickinson University, is the “child honor godfather” of the ONG Espana campaign #unfuturosinviolencia and has earned the Marsha P. Johnson Don’t Be Outraged Be Outrageous award for his work in the LGBTQ community.

He has slayed the runways at New York Fashion Week and appeared in Vogue Magazine four times. Desmond is also the founder of the first ever drag house for drag kids, the Haus of Amazing. He is currently working on writing a children’s book and recording his first music single.

What inspires Desmond most is the feedback he receives from other “drag kids” and LGBTQ+ youth. Often times they describe how Desmond has helped them discover the importance of self-expression. It is this personal engagement with fans, which Desmond has coined his “Amazies”, that motivates him to continue doing drag and advocacy work.

Allison James
Allison James is the Director of Education and Environmental Policy for New York City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. She spent many years in the private sector at international financial firms, specializing in logistics management as an Operations Specialist. Allison has been an advocate for public education and the needs of a largely immigrant community in City Council, District 10. She uses her passion for the environment to advance the education of younger generations about global awareness and sustainability. Allison is also a part-time faculty at Parsons School of Design, specializing in sustainable systems. She has a BA in Environmental Economics and a MS in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management from The New School.

Shane Aslan Selzer
Shane Aslan Selzer is an artist who is the founding editor of the Social Action Archive Committee (SAAC), a flexible group of researchers developing new projects using dormant archives. SAAC is currently developing a new project with Visual AIDS in New York. Selzer is exhibiting new collaborative work this fall at Tabakalera in San Sebastian, Spain. Selzer is the Co-Editor of, What We Want Is Free: Critical Exchanges in Recent Art (SUNY Press, 2014) and a part time faculty member in the Fine Arts Department at Parsons School for Design, The New School University. Her work is featured in CMA’s current exhibition “Art & Activism: Drawing the Line”

Sekou Ross-Selzer
Sekou Ross-Selzer is an artist and kindergartner at The Neighborhood School ps 363. Sekou is currently building an airport structure for a collection of alphabots to explore space travel. This fall Sekou is taking swim lessons with a cousin, Sadie. In December Sekou will become a six year old.

Aaron Philip
Aaron Philip is a 17 year old model, author, advocate and former CMA Inclusive Class attendee! She currently goes to high school as a senior at NYC Lab High School for Collaborative Studies in Soho and is applying for college. As of this summer, she is Elite Model Management’s first physically disabled, trans model.

This event is hosted in partnership with For Freedoms and their 50 States Initiative. The mission of For Freedoms is to provide non-partisan nationwide programming and to use art as as vehicle for participation to deepen public discussions on civic issues and core values. They are a hub for artists, arts institutions, and citizens who want to be more engaged in public life. Learn more at forfreedoms.org.

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