Presented by:
Mary Tuti Baker, Ana Cecilia Lopez, Jane Wong, and facilitated by Melina Juárez Pérez

Audience: Community, Educators, Human Rights / Social Justice Professionals, Young Adults (14+)         Workshop capacity: 100

This roundtable is structured as a “platica.” Platicas are intentional spaces for connections where people can come together to have honest conversations. Platicas entail vulnerability and courage that allows for participants to speak freely – from their hearts. Platicas are a place to build trust and good relations as we listen, dialogue, and build with each other.

This platica on Love as Extremist Politics invites us to explore love as a practice of freedom and liberation. We’ll begin the platica by sharing our own cultural understandings of love and then leading a conversation around the following questions: How do we activate love in our community? How do we practice love in the context of political mobilizations? How do we maintain a commitment to love even as we are disruptive and as we try to transform? 

Our platica reflects and honors Dr. King’s ideals in multiple ways. First, this presentation is guided by great feelings of love — love for our peoples, love for our pain, love for our struggles, and love for our futures. Second, our participants come from many different locations, places, cosmologies, and ideologies — we are Native, Indigenous, Asian, Chicanas, queer, straight, old, and young.  We hope to ignite intergenerational and cross-cultural discussions about love, relationality, and mutuality through open-hearted discussion and thought activities. 

Mary Tuti Baker [She/Her] is an Assistant Professor in comparative Indigenous studies with a joint appointment in Canadian-American Studies, Salish Seas Studies and Fairhaven College. A Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) scholar, she earned her PhD in Political Science from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa with specializations in Indigenous Politics and Futures Studies. Her work examines the relationship between Kanaka Maoli values and practice and the politics of decolonization. She is currently working on a manuscript entitled “The Land Is in Us: Embodied Aloha ‘Āina Enacting Indigenous Futures” which is a critical examination of aloha ʻāina as an Indigenous ideology. She is interested in the articulations across various Indigenous communities as well as non-indigenous social justice movements. Her most recent publication is the essay “A Garden of Political Transformation: Indigenism, Anarchism and Feminism Embodied” in a special issue of Anarchist Development in Cultural Studies edited by J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, which examines the diverse practices coalesce around the ideological principles of aloha ʻāina and anarcha-indigenism, a world-view grounded in indigenous land-based practice and knowledge systems and anarchist principles of fluid leadership and horizontal power structures. 

Ana Cecilia Lopez [She/Her] is an assistant professor and current director for the Center for Law, Diversity, and Justice at Fairhaven College, Western Washington University. Ceci is an attorney by training. Ceci graduated from Western Washington University-Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in Law, Diversity, and Public Policy in 2008. She then attended the University of Washington School of Law, earning her Law degree in June 2011. Ceci continued her legal studies at the University of Washington School of Law where she enrolled in the Master of Tax Law program receiving her degree in 2012. She is admitted to the bar in Washington state and admitted to practice in the U.S. Tax Court. Ceci’s life-long passion and goal is to become a pillar of her community. As a professor, she seeks to facilitate communication and interactions between her students and the community at large. Ceci loves entrepreneurship and is a firm believer in economic development as a tool to empower the community from within by facilitating economic growth and inviting civic participation. Ceci sits on the boards of the Bellingham Community Food Coop. She is also a volunteer attorney with the Low-Income Tax Clinic at the University of Washington School of Law. 

Jane Wong [She/Her] teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in creative writing and literature. In addition to teaching poetry and hybrid forms, her research interests include Asian American poetry and poetics, migration and transnational studies, the digital humanities, and literature by BIPOC writers. Her poems can be found in places such as Best American Poetry 2015, American Poetry Review, POETRY, AGNI, Third Coast, Virginia Quarterly Review, and others. Her nonfiction essays have appeared in Best American Nonrequired Reading 2019, McSweeney’s, Ecotone, The Georgia Review, Shenandoah, This is the Place: Women Writing About Home, and others. A Kundiman fellow, she is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and fellowships and residencies from the U.S. Fulbright Program, Artist Trust, 4Culture, the Fine Arts Work Center, Bread Loaf, Willapa Bay AiR, Hedgebrook, the Jentel Foundation, SAFTA, Sarabande, and the Mineral School. She is the author of How to Not Be Afraid of Everything (Alice James Books, 2021) and Overpour (Action Books, 2016). Her debut memoir, Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City, is forthcoming from Tin House Books. In 2017, she received the James W. Ray Distinguished Artist award for Washington artists. In 2019, she debuted her solo art exhibit, “After Preparing the Altar, the Ghosts Feast Feverishly,” at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle. A scholar of Asian American poetry and poetics, you can explore “The Poetics of Haunting” project here. A proud first-generation college graduate, she also grew up in a Chinese American take-out restaurant and teaches food writing. 

Melina Juárez Pérez [She/Her], facilitator, is an Assistant Professor in Political Science and the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Western Washington University located on unceded Lhaq’temish and Nooksack territories. She is a Chicana born and raised in a farmworker community in Yokuts Land in the Central Valley, California. She earned her BA in Political Science from California State University, Stanislaus. Her MA in TransAtlantic Politics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. And her PhD in Political Science from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque in 2018. Her research highlights the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and policy with a focus on the stories and experiences of Chicanx and Latinx communities.