19th Annual Ray Warren Symposium on Race and Ethnic Studies
Art of Storytelling
November 9–11, 2022
Rebecca Hall is an independent scholar, activist, and educator who writes and speaks on the history of race, gender, law, and resistance, as well as climate justice and intersectional feminist theory. Dr. Hall is the author of the award-winning graphic narrative Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts, which weaves history and memoir in telling the stories of slave revolts and her own experiences in researching that history as the descendant of grandparents who were born enslaved. Wake was listed as a best book of 2021 by NPR, The Washington Post, Ms., and Forbes. She is currently a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute, where she is working on the manuscript for her next graphic narrative, “Taking Freedom,” which focuses on the political agency of enslaved women in making freedom claims during the Civil War and Reconstruction.
As a lawyer representing low-income tenants and unhoused families for eight years, Dr. Hall bore witness to how her clients’ race, class and gender affected the possibilities of their receiving justice through the legal system. Seeking a deeper understanding of these structures, she pursued a PhD in history at UC Santa Cruz. Dr. Hall’s work has been supported by numerous grants and fellowships, including from the American Association of University Women, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Schomburg Center Scholars-in-Residence Program, and she has taught at UC Santa Cruz, Berkeley Law, UC Berkeley’s history department, and the University of Utah.
Oriel María Siu is a writer, scholar, and educator of Náhuat/Pipil/Chinese descent born and raised in San Pedro Sula Honduras.
At the age of 16, Dr. Siu was forced to leave her homeland for Los Angeles, California, where she became active in the creation of educational spaces for the growing Central American, Indigenous, Black and Brown communities in Los Angeles, helping to establish the first program in Central American studies in the US at California State University Northridge, and founding Latinx studies at the University of Puget Sound. Dr. Siu holds a masters in Latin American literature from UC Berkeley, and a doctoral degree from UCLA. She has taught courses on race, immigration, Central American, Chicana/o and Latinx literatures, publishing extensively on these topics, and staying active in the fight for ethnic studies.
When Dr. Siu became a mother, she encountered the lack of inspiring, empowering, historically on-point, and culturally sensitive books for children of color in the U.S. So she decided to write her own.
The LA Times characterized the first book of Dr. Siu’s children’s book series as “pioneering.” Her second book, Christopher the Ogre Cologre, It’s Over! (August 2021) has received national praise from social justice educational spaces, independent media outlets, and ethnic studies educators and programs. Organizations like Rethinking Schools are encouraging the use of her work in the middle school classroom, and high schools and universities are also using the book as part of education, race, and American studies teacher training programs.
In 2020, Dr. Siu was selected “Top Ten New Latino Latina/Latino Authors” by Latino Stories for her contributions to children’s literature in the United States. Dr. Siu lives and writes out of Los Angeles, California, and San Pedro Sula, Honduras, with her daughter, Suletu Ixakbal.