Making Space, Holding Space: #90X90 and Literature as ResistanceBy Chiwan Choi
February 18, 2017
There haven’t been many weeks since the summer of 2014 ended in which I haven’t thought about or someone hasn’t reminded me of #90for90, that time we did 90 events over 90 days in a train station bar. When it ended, it felt like those corny movies where our characters have a terrifying, exciting, overwhelming, but ultimately unforgettable summers that forever change them. In many ways, none of us—Jessica, Peter, Judeth or myself—have recovered from it.
From the moment the final event, the 90th event, ended, the big question has been, “When are you doing it again?” We’ve asked ourselves this too, both with anticipation and for a lack of a better word, terror, knowing the toll it took on us.
Then the shitshow that is 2016 came and went. And the nightmare of 2017 has begun.
In the last year, we had the privilege of publishing Surveillance by Ashaki M. Jackson, a chapbook that examines videos capturing police killing of civilians and the public’s consumption of these videos. Partnering with her on the publication and in the literary activism she insisted upon, with 100% of sales going to various social justice organizations, really evolved the way we thought about our role as publisher and as individual artists.
A few months ago, on Facebook, I saw a post that was a catalyst for our decision. Scott Woods, a wonderful writer and organizer and host based in Columbus, Ohio posted a project that he was putting together. It’s called Holler and it’s 30 days of Black artists based in Columbus through the course of March 2017. It was so exciting and inspiring to see him putting this together. It reminded me of how important holding space is, especially for writers and artists of color.
Then soon after, the presidential election came and went and Judeth and I spoke about it. It was time. If ever there was a time to put together #90for90 again, it was this year.
Having learned a few things through the process and with actual time to plan this time, we are making sure that our purpose is clearer, to ourselves and to others.
#ResistanceIsLit is the hashtag we will be presenting under. #90X90LA is to mark where we are doing it and to make it easy to modify for others around the country who want to hold space in their own cities.
So the why and the what:
Literature is about making and holding space for our stories, our truth, our stories, for our humanity. It is about listening and being heard.
#90X90 is 90 literary events in 90 days, 90 days of holding space for each other, of building a community within our community and with those outside our circles, in order that we might impact our neighborhoods, businesses, cities and nation with our words and strength.
90 days of joy, 90 days of sharing and learning, 90 days of resistance, 90 days of celebrating our words, our stories, our narratives.
#90X90 made the summer of 2014 memorable in LA. It returns in 2017.
Talk to us if you’d like to be involved in the planning of #90X90LA, or want to organize a #60X60ATL or #30X30OKC, etc.
I’ll be writing more in depth about our planning, locations, manifestos, and other things that solidify as we move forward.
Today we just want you to know that Writ Large Press is committing ourselves to literature and to our community and to resistance this summer. We hope that whether you are in Los Angeles or Columbus or any other city or town, you will join us.
Chiwan Choi’s piece “Making Space, Holding Space: #90X90 and Literature as Resistance” was originally published at Cultural Weekly.
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