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February 2022 - Virtual

Simon Tam
The Song of Change

When Simon Tam started an Asian American dance rock band called The Slants, he didn't realize that he was starting a movement around freedom of expression and discussions on identity. The band flipped stereotypes with their bombastic live shows and community activism. But when Simon applied to register a trademark on the band's name, the government dragged him all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States.

This is the story of an indomitable spirit who so believes in the idea of justice that they're willing to risk everything along the way for the dignity of self-identity. This is a raw look at our legal system with unflinching honesty and offers timely insights on freedom of speech, how to connect with others we disagree with, and the power of music.

Gripping, funny, enlightening, and ultimately uplifting, Simon's story proves that no obstacle is too difficult to conquer --as long as you have a little heart and a lot of rock n' roll. Presented with guitarist Joe X. Jiang.

Simon Tam believes that apathy is not compatible with love. He works to change the culture by transforming systems with an equity framework. Simon may best be known for winning a landmark case in 2017 that helped expand civil liberties, unanimously, at the Supreme Court of the United States (Matal v. Tam). He is the founder of The Slants, one of the first all-Asian American dance rock bands in the world, and co-founder of The Slants Foundation, a nonprofit organization that is pushing the boundaries of what is possible for arts, activism, and civic engagement. Learn more about our speaker.

April 2021 - Virtual 

Rapper and Activist Roy Kinsey

Chicago born and raised, Roy Kinsey is a bit of an anomaly when it comes to tradition in his respective industries. where being a black, queer-identified, rapper, and librarian may be an intimidating choice for some, Roy Kinsey’s non-conformist ideology has informed his 6th album, and self proclaimed, “best work yet,” KINSEY: A Memoir. KINSEY: A Memoir, arguably more poignant than Blackie: A Story by Roy Kinsey, captures a dark, sinister, yet sincere, and potent musical performance by Kinsey. Kinsey’s observations are strong on ‘Memoir,’; shaped by early traumas that threatened to debilitate his belief in himself as well as the abilities of his family. It is the manifestation of a queer man, in a black body, coming of age in Chicago. Roy Kinsey is a librarian in the Teen Services/Youmedia department for Chicago Public Libraries. Learn more about Roy on his website.