Cherríe L. Moraga and Jay Toole To Deliver Keynote Speeches at 3rd Biennial BUTCH Voices National Conference

Jay and Cherrie

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Sinclair Sexsmith
Media representative, BUTCH Voices
+1 (917) 475-6316
sinclair@butchvoices.com

June 18, 2013

Oakland, CA – Cherríe Moraga, faculty member and Artist-in-Residence at Stanford University, and Jay Toole, Co-founder and Shelter Director at Queers for Economic Justice (QEJ) will deliver the keynote speeches at the 3rd Biennial BUTCH Voices National Conference.

“The Steering Committee is extremely honored to have Cherríe L. Moraga and Jay Toole speak at the BUTCH Voices National Conference,” said Joe LeBlanc, Founder and Board Chair of BUTCH Voices. “We are excited to have two amazing leaders of the community speak and inspire at the conference.”

Playwright, poet, and essayist Cherríe L. Moraga’s work has received national recognition, including a TCG Theatre Artist Residency Grant, the NEA’s Theatre Playwrights’ Fellowship, and two Fund for New American Plays Awards. In 2007, she was awarded the United States Artist Rockefeller Fellowship for Literature.

For fifteen years, Moraga has served as an Artist-in-Residence in the Department of Drama at Stanford University and currently also shares a joint appointment with Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity. She teaches Creative Chicano/Latino and Indigenous Studies, and Playwriting.

Moraga has premiered and developed her work at theatres throughout San Francisco. Her plays have been presented throughout the Southwest as well as in Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, and New York. Her most recent play, NEW FIRE—To Put Things Right Again, a collaboration with visual artist Celia Herrera Rodríguez, had its world premiere at Brava Theater Center in San Francisco in January 2012 and was a co-production with cihuatl productions. Over 3,000 people witnessed the play during its 10-day run.

Jay Toole grew up in an Irish Catholic Home in the South Bronx during the 1950s and, at the age of 13, returned home with the classic butch haircut of the day, a flat top. Her father threw her out of home and Toole spent the next eight years living on a park bench in Washington Square Park. Until 2000, when she finally had an apartment to call her own, Toole spent the five years prior navigating the New York City homeless shelter system.

Toole became addicted to drugs and alcohol and found her way out of the homeless shelter system with help from supportive queer individuals from the outside.

Having been inspired by these support systems, Toole became a Co-founder and Shelter Director at the Queers for Economic Justice (QEJ), a progressive, non-profit organization committed to promoting economic justice in a context of sexual and gender liberation.

Her work at QEJ resulted in two written policy changes at the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) and the City of New York.

Toole is currently working alongside her team to create the LGBTQ adult shelter in the country. Jay’s House will bring together a resource center, support and services, housing, follow up care, skill shares, mentorships and hold hands as people move through difficult systems, such as health care.

The BUTCH Voices 3rd biennial National Conference will take place in Oakland, CA at the Oakland Marriott City Center August 15-18, 2013. BUTCH Voices expects more than 300 attendees for the conference. Register online at http://www.butchvoices.com. Further inquiries can be sent to Sinclair Sexsmith, Media Board Chair, at sinclair@butchvoices.com

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