In celebration of the life and legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Amherst College will host an interactive panel featuring a range of writers and activists engaged in issues related to civil rights. 

The symposium, "Moving Toward Collective Liberation," will feature writer and performer Dylan Marron; United Church of Christ Bishop John Selders; racial justice organizer and educator Chris Crass; and social justice activist Caleb Stephens.

The panelists will explore questions of liberation and the role of men and masculinity in a new civil rights movement led by queer/femme black and brown women. 

The event, which will be held in Johnson Chapel at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28, is free and open to the public.

About the Moderator:

Marisa Parham
Marisa Parham is an Amherst College professor of English and director of the Five College Digital Humanities Project. She holds a Ph.D. in English and comparative literature from Columbia University and is the author of Haunting and Displacement in African-American Literature and Culture, as well as The African-American Student’s Guide to College. She formerly served on the Board of Directors for the Amherst Cinema Arts CenterShe was a fellow at the W.E.B. DuBois Research Institute at Harvard University in 2005 and at Huntington Library in 2014.

About the Panelists:

Dylan Marron
Dylan Marron is a Drama Desk-nominated writer, performer and video maker. He is the voice of Carlos on the podcast Welcome to Night Vale and plays Ari on the critically acclaimed web series Whatever this is. He is co-creator and performer of Ridgefield Middle School Talent Nite, currently playing monthly at the UCB. An alumnus of the New York Neo Futurists, Marron wrote and performed in the hit weekly show Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind and wrote and directed The Human Symphony, a play performed by randomly selected audience members via instructional mp3 tracks. He is the creator of Every Single Word, a video series that edits down popular films to only feature the words spoken by people of color. He is a writer and correspondent at, a comedy news channel from Hearst. 

Bishop John Selders
Bishop John Selders is an ordained minister serving the United Church of Christ, the Organizing Pastor of the Amistad United Church of Christ and as Associate Chaplain at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. Selders has traveled across the country speaking, lecturing and conducting workshops in the areas of race, anti-racism and internalized oppression. He is a teacher, lecturer, workshop leader, HIV/AIDS educator and activist with numerous citations for his work. Selders worked for 12 years as a lecturer at Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Conn., and he has served as adjunct faculty member in the Field Education Department of Andover Newton Theological School, as dean of the urban ministry track for the Anglican Divinity School and as an adjunct faculty member for The Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education. He serves on a number of boards and works with several organizations both locally and nationally whose work is ultimately concerned with the healing of humanity.​

Chris Crass
Chris Crass is a longtime organizer, writer and educator focusing on anti-racist organizing and racial justice. He is a leading voice in white communities for racial justice and Black Lives Matter.  Crass regularly keynotes at colleges and universities across the country and at major conferences including, most recently, the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education - NCORE 2016 and the White Privilege Conference. Crass' latest book is Towards the "Other America": Anti-Racist Resources for White People Taking Action for Black Lives Matter. Originally from California, he lives in Louisville, Ky., with his partner and their two sons.

Caleb Stephens
Caleb Stephens is a licensed master social worker and a licensed addictions counselor. He is an activist for social justice and an intersectional feminist who specializes in intrapersonal conflict, identity and the intersectionalities of race, substance abuse, coping, and hope; he implements those through his company called IdentiFight. Stephens will teach a course at Washburn University in Topeka, Kan., in the fall 2017 entitled "We Bout That Life: Black Lives Matter and Social Work Practice."