Real societal change is incredibly hard to make happen, especially when working towards tangible and enduring impact. Ramy Essan’s music fueled the Egyptian Revolution and has lately written songs that have made his home country unsafe for him. Dallas Goldtooth is a Native American activist, singer and comedian who was a leader and organizer at Standing Rock. Acclaimed graphic designer Bonnie Siegler’s book, Signs of Resistance, A Visual History of Protest in America is a rich compendium of some of the most effective and memorable art that shaped movements.
Dr. Aaron Belkin is a scholar who, since 1999, has served as founding director of the LGBT advocacy organization, the Palm Center. His 2011 public education campaign was responsible for the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell”. As the architect and implementer of a groundbreaking shift in American military policy, Belkin will share what he learned about advocacy in our show, Change is Hard. His transformative work can be found in his book, How We Won: Progressive Lessons from the Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. Arianna Huffington called the book a “best practices guide for civil rights fights.”
Bonnie Siegler is a hugely accomplished graphic designer whose book, Signs of Resistance, A Visual History of Protest in America, looks at more than two centuries of protest art and design. At Original Thinkers, in our Change is Hard show, she will be talking about the real impact of art and visual imagery. An expert on art catalyzed by times of strife, Siegler describes vacillating “back and forth between rage and hope” in her work, resulting in a unique outlook on the power of gathering with a common cause. Siegler’s multi-disciplinary design studio Eight and a Half (http://8point5.com) has worked with an array of esteemed clients, and she was voted one of the 50 most influential designers working today by Graphic Design USA. Check out some of her work on her insta page: @Bonnie8point5.
Ramy Essam is a rocker, an agitator, and a force of nature live on stage. With a guitar in hand, Essam has been one of the loudest voices for Egypt’s struggle for a progressive society. He will sing and speak about using his talent to lead a revolution in our Change is Hard show, including his most notable song, Irhal. He performed it at the height of the Egyptian Revolution, demanding for the resignation of then-ruler Hosni Mubarak. Time Out has it listed as the #3 Song that changed history. “My cause is humanity and freedom and human rights. It’s very simple”. Essam experienced brutal torture and arrests intended to silence his voice because of his participation in the movement. His songs were banned and he was forbidden to perform publicly in Egypt. Undeterred, he eventually found safe haven in Sweden, and continues to perform today.