Presented by the Before Columbus Foundation
Hearing Room 4: 4:45—6pm

Born in the crucible of militant literary activism, multiculturalism in recent years has become increasingly supplanted in the academy by notions of political correctness. Before Columbus Foundation assembles a select panel of American Book Award winners as well as members of its own board for a discussion of multiculturalism’s vibrant and urgent necessity in twenty-first century America.

LORNA DEE CERVANTES is a poet and one of the major voices in Chicana literature. Her writing explores cultural differences, as well as the divides of gender and economics.

DAVID MELTZER began his literary career during the San Francisco Beat Movement. He is the author of over forty volumes of poetry and his work was included in the anthology, The New American Poetry 1945-1960. David has also published fiction and essays, and has edited numerous anthologies and collections of interviews. Meltzer and his wife, the poet Julie Rogers, live in Oakland, California. 

GUNDARS STRADS has been an editor at the University of California, Berkeley, and executive director of the Before Columbus Foundation for over thirty years. He has also been a manager and editor at several multicultural literary publishing ventures.

ARMOND WHITE is a film critic who writes for National Review Online. He received the American Book Award’s Anti-Censorship prize. He is the author of The Resistance: Ten Years of Pop Culture That Shook the World and the forthcoming What We Don’t Talk about When We Talk about the Movies.

SHAWN WONG’s first novel, Homebase, won a Washington State Governor’s Writers Day Award and Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award. His second novel, American Knees, was recently made into a film. Among Wong’s six other books is the landmark Aiiieeeee! An Anthology of Asian-American Writers, a collection largely credited as the first to showcase Asian-American literature. Wong is a professor of English at the University of Washington.

JUSTIN DESMANGLES (moderator) is chairman of the board of directors of the Before Columbus Foundation. He is the creator of the critically acclaimed radio program "New Day Jazz," now in its thirteenth year. His poetry and journalism have appeared in Amerarcana, Black Renaissance Noire, Drumvoices Revue, and Konch Magazine.