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"Both of my grandmothers were elementary school teachers. Both of my aunts were librarians, and everyone in my family loved to read."
Teaching for Change staff member Derrick Weston Brown has just released his first book of poetry, Wisdom Teeth (published by the Busboys and Poets imprint of PM Press). Derrick started at Teaching for Change as a bookseller nearly six years ago and was integral to the launch of Teaching for Change’s Busboys and Poets Bookstore. At that time he became Busboys and Poets’ first Poet-in-Residence. Derrick’s hometown is Charlotte, N.C., but he currently resides in the Washington, D.C. metro region, specifically Mount Ranier, MD. He teaches creative writing at Emerson Preparatory School in northwest and at Hart Middle School in southeast.
Teaching for Change: How does your hometown Charlotte influence you?
Derrick Weston Brown: Charlotte has and will always be home to me, although I haven't lived there for close to 10 years. I had a great childhood and I developed a love of books and writing through my family. Both of my grandmothers were elementary school teachers. Both of my aunts were librarians, and everyone in my family loved to read. As an only child, I had an active imagination and my family encouraged it as well as helped me focus my imagination toward the performing arts.
"...they can never block my voice from reaching
the great and peace-loving people in the United States."
Washington D.C., March 25, 2011
Because the United States denied her visa to enter the U.S., Malalai Joya, an acclaimed women’s rights activist and former member of Afghanistan’s parliament, addressd an audience of over 50 for an author event at Busboys and Poets via Skype on Tuesday, March 22. The event was co-hosted by Teaching for Change and the Afghan Women's Mission. Ms. Joya, who was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2010, had been scheduled to appear at Busboys and Poets in person as part of her three-week U.S. tour to promote an updated edition of her memoir, A Woman Among Warlords.
Busboys and Poets, Teaching for Change, and the Afghan Women's Mission advocated for her permisison to travel. Determined not to let the denial of her visa be an obstacle to free speech, all three groups coordinated her Skype presentation at the scheduled time - 6:30 on Tuesday evening in DC -- 3:30 a.m. for the author in Afghanistan.