John Jairo Lugo

John Jairo Lugo is the Co-founder and Community Organizing Director of Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA) in New Haven.

John Jairo Lugo is the Co-founder and Community Organizing Director of Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA) in New Haven. His work for prisoners’ and immigrants’ rights is informed by his own experience being detained by the Colombian government and US immigration authorities until eventually granted asylum in the US. Before dedicating himself full-time to ULA, John Jairo worked for 15 years at Community Mediation, Inc., directing a program in New Haven Superior Court diverting first-time offenders from prison. He is a recipient of the Center for Community Change’s “Emerging Change Champion Award.”

Jyothi Natarajan

Jyothi Natarajan is a writer and editor based in Portland, OR. She is Editorial Director at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop.

Jyothi Natarajan is a writer and editor based in Portland, OR. She is Editorial Director at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, a national literary nonprofit working at the intersection of race, migration and social justice. She has been a book and magazine editor for over a decade.

Ciona Rouse

Ciona Rouse is the author of the chapbook Vantablack (Third Man Books, 2017).

Ciona Rouse is the author of the chapbook Vantablack (Third Man Books, 2017). Her poetry has appeared in The Account, Talking River, Gabby Journal, Matter: a journal of political poetry and commentary and other publications. She is poetry editor of Wordpeace. Along with poet Kendra DeColo, Rouse hosts the literary podcast Re/VERB.

Margaret Malone

Margaret Malone is the author of the story collection People Like You.

Margaret Malone is the author of the story collection People Like You, Finalist for the 2016 PEN/Hemingway Award and Winner of the 2016 Balcones Fiction Prize and was recently selected as one of Powell’s Books 25 Books To Read Before You Die. A co-host of the artist and literary gathering SHARE, Margaret lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband filmmaker Brian Padian and their two children.

Elizabeth Jordan

Elizabeth Jordan is the CEO of BookPeople, the largest independent bookstore in Texas.

Elizabeth Jordan is the CEO of BookPeople, the largest independent bookstore in Texas. She has worked at BookPeople for the past seventeen years starting as a bookseller and then moving into a variety of leadership roles, including a ten-year stint as the Adult Book Buyer and Inventory Operations Supervisor. She has served on the Bookseller Advisory Committee for the American Booksellers Association and the Board of Directors of the Independent Booksellers Consortium. She was named a finalist for the 2018 Publishers Weekly Star Watch Award.

Ciona Rouse 

Ciona Rouse is the author of the chapbook Vantablack. Her poetry has appeared in The Account, Talking River, Gabby Journal, Matter: a journal of political poetry and commentary and other publications.

Ciona Rouse is the author of the chapbook Vantablack. Her poetry has appeared in The Account, Talking River, Gabby Journal, Matter: a journal of political poetry and commentary and other publications. She is poetry editor of Wordpeace. Along with poet Kendra DeColo, Rouse hosts the literary podcast Re/VERB.

Mitchell L.H. Douglas

Mitchell L.H. Douglas is the author of dying in the scarecrow’s arms, \blak\ \al-fə bet\, winner of the Persea Books Lexi Rudnitsky/Editor’s Choice Award, and Cooling Board: A Long-Playing Poem, an NAACP Image Award and Hurston/Wright Legacy Award nominee.

Mitchell L.H. Douglas is the author of dying in the scarecrow’s arms, \blak\ \al-fə bet\, winner of the Persea Books Lexi Rudnitsky/Editor’s Choice Award, and Cooling Board: A Long-Playing Poem, an NAACP Image Award and Hurston/Wright Legacy Award nominee. His poetry has appeared in Callaloo, The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (University of Georgia Press), The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (Haymarket Books), Crab Orchard Review, and Ninth Letter, among others. He is a cofounder of the Affrilachian Poets, a Cave Canem graduate, and Associate Professor of English at IUPUI.

Chimene Suleyman

Chimene Suleyman is a writer from London. She edited The Good Immigrant USA and was a contributing author to the original award-winning best-selling The Good Immigrant.

Chimene Suleyman is a writer from London. She edited The Good Immigrant USA and was a contributing author to the original award-winning best-selling The Good Immigrant. She has spoken on race and immigration politics for the Guardian, The Independent, IBTimes, Debrief, Sky News, BBC Newsnight, and NPR, to name a few. Her poetry collection Outside Looking On was included in a Guardian’s Best Book of 2014 list. She currently lives in New York.

Douglas Jackson

Douglas Jackson lives and writes in Roanoke, Virginia. For the past twelve years at the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), he’s provided strategic support to communities as they create new possibilities around unique cultural, outdoor, and arts assets.

Douglas Jackson lives and writes in Roanoke, Virginia. For the past twelve years at the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), he’s provided strategic support to communities as they create new possibilities around unique cultural, outdoor, and arts assets. He is the Arts and Culture Coordinator in the City of Roanoke. Douglas served as an officer in the US Navy and holds degrees in economics (Duke); urban and regional planning (UC Irvine); and creative writing (Hollins). A book lover, he’s currently leading a community effort to explore equity and engagement at the intersection of books and place through BOOK CITY * Roanoke—a blog, podcast, convening point, and strategic community partner.