Our 2022 Salon series, Teaching Race History and Reading Banned Books: Conversations on Intellectual Freedom, are evocative discussions from a range of viewpoints about the right of intellectual freedom, the question of whose words and voices are included in public education, and how, when, and by whom such determinations are made. Each Salon features guest speakers with diverse expertise in education, censorship, access, and civil liberties.
Salons at Stowe are 21st-century parlor conversations about contemporary social justice issues. Since 2008, Salons have provided a forum for lively discussion on topics rooted in the 19th century that remain pressing today.
Antoinette Brim-Bell is the author of three full-length poetry collections: These Women You Gave Me, Icarus in Love, and Psalm of the Sunflower. She is a Cave Canem Foundation fellow and an alumna of Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA). Her poetry, memoir, and prose have appeared in various journals, magazines, textbooks, and anthologies, as has her critical work, most notably, essays: “Living Behind the Numbers: A Statistic Muses about her Life” (National Association of African American Studies Monograph Series); “The Myopic Eye in Alice Walker’s ‘Flowers’” (Critical Insights: Alice Walker, Salem Press) and “Juxtaposed Dichotomies: the idealized white suburban pastoral, the surrealist tableau of black poverty & the women in between” (The Whiskey of Our Discontent: Gwendolyn Brooks as Conscience and Change Agent, Haymarket Books).
Additionally, Brim-Bell has hosted a series of Black History Month television programs for the OneWorld Progressive Institute and is a former recurring guest host of Patrick Oliver’s Literary Nation Talk Radio (KABF 88.3, Little Rock), for which she interviewed a variety of entertainers, literary figures, political pundits and community developers. A sought-after speaker, editor, educator, and consultant, Brim-Bell is a Professor of English at Capital Community College where she also serves as the Teaching and Learning Consultant, and Chair of Center for Teaching.
Vonetta Lightfoot is a higher education professional who specializes in multicultural affairs, developing content and event planning with the goal of creating inclusive spaces on college campuses through diverse cultural programming. She knows “you can’t be what you can’t see” so creating events and activities centering on BIPOC and other marginalized communities is at the core of the work she does at Springfield Technical Community College.
In 2020, she was named one of the “100 Women of Color ” by June Archer & Eleven28 Entertainment. This award recognizes the contributions of women of color in business, education, entrepreneurship, entertainment, government, service and the impact they have made on the lives of people throughout the State of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts communities. Vonetta was also recently named one of Business West 40 Under Forty, an award of honoring young professionals in Western Mass. — not only for their career achievements, but for their service to the community. Outside of STCC, she is a certified racial equity and DEI trainer.
Vonetta Lightfoot, is a native of Springfield, MA. She is a graduate of Hampton University, in Hampton, VA, where she earned her B.A. in Mass Media Arts-Print Journalism. Vonetta is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and she is a wife and a mother of two.
Christine Emeran is director of the Youth Free Expression Program at the New York based non-profit, National Coalition Against Censorship (ncac.org). She writes on contemporary issues about young people, social media and social movements in the U.S. and Western/Eastern Europe. Dr. Emeran is a Fulbright Fellow and the author of New Generation Political Activism in Ukraine 2000–2014 (Routledge, 2018) and a book chapter titled “The March for Our Lives Movement in the USA: Generational Change and the Personalization of Protest” featured in a global social movement book series, When Students Protest: Secondary and High Schools (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2021). An international researcher as well as an academic, Dr. Emeran has taught political theory and sociology at Manhattan College, NY, St. John’s University, NY, and Sciences Po Paris, France. She received her PhD in sociology from the New School for Social Research. Her current research focuses on global youth social movements, social media networks and disinformation.