Tongo Eisen-Martin

African Diaspora – New Dialogues
Thursday, November 7th at 7:00 p.m.
South Dallas Cultural Center
3400 S. Fitzhugh Dallas, TX 75210
Hosted by Ernest Mcmillan

WordSpace is proud to partner with the South Dallas Cultural Center to produce the 6th season of African Diaspora – New Dialogues Series.

Tongo Eisen-Martin was born in San Francisco and earned his MA at Columbia University. He is the author of someone’s dead already (Bootstrap Press, 2015), nominated for a California Book Award; and Heaven Is All Goodbyes (City Lights, 2017), which received a 2018 American Book Award, a 2018 California Book Award, was named a 2018 National California Booksellers Association Poetry Book of the Year, and was shortlisted for the 2018 Griffin International Poetry Prize. In their citation, the judges for the Griffin Prize wrote that Eisen-Martin’s work “moves between trenchant political critique and dreamlike association, demonstrating how, in the right hands, one mode might energize the other—keeping alternative orders of meaning alive in the face of radical injustice … His poems are places where discourses and vernaculars collide and recombine into new configurations capable of expressing outrage and sorrow and love.”

Eisen-Martin is also an educator and organizer whose work centers on issues of mass incarceration, extrajudicial killings of Black people, and human rights. He has taught at detention centers around the country and at the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University. He lives in San Francisco.

Host of the evening, Mr. Ernest McMillan is a veteran human rights activist with a history of working through the 60’s in Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and throughout the 80’s with the National Black United Front and the United League of Mississippi. McMillan served as the Chairman of the Dallas SNCC from 1967- 1969.

Mr. McMillan received an Associate of Arts degree in History and Government at Brazos Junior College in Texas and has completed further study in history, government, and political science at Morehouse College in Atlanta, UT Arlington, and the University of Houston at Clear Lake City, Texas.

He has extensive experience in counseling of both youth and adults. Additionally, he has worked successfully in management positions involved with the delivery of social services, organizing and planning resources, and coordinating activities to meet specific objectives. Mr. McMillan initiated the first Drug Prevention Program for African-American youth in Houston in 1981. He has developed support systems for ex-offenders and drug abusers as founder of People United for Justice for Prisoners in Dallas, Texas, and as a counselor for the Alternative Drug Abuse Program of VGS, Houston, Texas. Mr. McMillan also served as project manager at the Communities-In-School program at Wesley Elementary School, Houston.

In 1984, McMillan founded the Fifth Ward Enrichment Program, a non-profit, community based, youth development initiative. He served as its Chief Executive Officer, and after twenty-three years at the helm, he became its Executive Coach and Senior Adviser.  The FWEP continues to operate in Houston’s inner city as an effective support and intervention system for young African-American and Hispanic males to this day

Currently, McMillan resides in Dallas, Texas where he volunteers extensively with several local and international efforts including the Dallas Peace Center, IFCO/ Pastors for Peace, and as a 2011 delegate to Witness For Peace’ Human Rights Delegation to Honduras. He became the Director of Educational Programs at Youth Believing in Change (YBC) after serving as a volunteer mentor, coordinator of the boys’ mentoring program and as a classroom facilitator there.

He most recently served as Curator for Community Action with Cara Mia Theatre Company. He is excited to be involved routinely in the work of connecting arts with the community and developing avenues to foster and engage multigenerational, multicultural bridges for community uplift.  He is currently volunteering with the Owenwood Farm and Neighbor Space engaging area residents and stakeholders to build and sustain a community garden.

About South Dallas Cultural Center: The South Dallas Cultural Center (SDCC) is a City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs owned community center with a wide variety of programs inspired by the vibrancy and diversity of the African Diaspora. The SDCC seeks to educate and inspire through the visual, media, literary and performing arts. SDCC has presented some of the most dynamic visual and performing arts in Dallas. Retired Manager Vicki Meek’s decades of service to promote art and racial equity have profoundly influenced the cultural life of Dallas and the development of a whole new generation of African American artists. She is the co-developer of The Institute for Creative Investigation in Puerta Viejo, Costa Rica; Board Chair of Friends of the South Dallas Cultural Center; serves on the Advisory Board of WordSpace and co-founder of African Diaspora–New Dialogues with Karen Minzer and Dee Mitchell of WordSpace. Marilyn Clark, SDCC’s Education Director arranges special DISD school visits for the visiting writers of this series.

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