Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons with K. Agbebiyi, Da’Shaun Harrison
Thursday, September 30, 2021, 6:00pm-6:30pm
Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons retired Assistant Professor of Religion and affiliated faculty in the Women Studies Department at the University of Florida. Raised in Memphis, Simmons received her BA from Antioch University in Human Services and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Religion with a specific focus on Islam from Temple University as well as a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies. Simmons’ primary academic focus in Islam is on the Shari’ah (Islamic Law) and its impact on Muslim women, contemporarily. Simmons has a long history in the area of civil rights, human rights and peace work. During her early adult years as a college student and thereafter, she was active with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and spent seven years working full time on Voter Registration and desegregation activities in Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama during the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s. She was on the staff of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker peace, justice, human rights and international development organization headquartered in Philadelphia, Pa. for twenty-three years.
K. Agbebiyi, Georgia State Policy and Movement Building Director and Organizer of URGE. K, or Toyin, Agbebiyi (they/them) is a Black, nonbinary femme lesbian based in Atlanta. They earned their BS in Human Services from Kennesaw State University in 2017, and their Masters of Social Work with a Concentration in Social Policy and Evaluation from the University of Michigan in 2018. While in graduate school, K was honored with the Rackham Scholar Activist Award.
The majority of K’s work revolves around political education, writing, and organizing strategy in regards to ending the prison industrial complex. In their past 7 years of organizing in Georgia, Michigan, and Brooklyn, they have given countless lectures at places such as Yale, Columbia, and Harvard, and have had their writing featured in Rewire News and MomaPS1. They have been profiled in BITCH Magazine along with Glamour Magazine, and they are a co-creator of the viral 8toabolition.com. They are currently working on a book about prison abolition for University of California Press. K is most excited to create policy strategy that understands the connection between reproductive justice, and ending the prison industrial complex. When not working, K spends their time organizing with #FreeAshleyNow, exploring Atlanta’s parks, reading all of the books, and hanging out with their dog named Shallot.
Da’Shaun Harrison is a Black trans writer, abolitionist, and community organizer in Atlanta, GA. Harrison currently serves as the Managing Editor of Wear Your Voice Magazine, and is the author of Belly of the Beast: The Politics of Anti-Fatness as Anti-Blackness. Harrison is also a public speaker who often leads workshops on Blackness, queerness, gender, fatness, disabilities, and the intersection at which they all meet. Their portfolio and other work can be found on their website: dashaunharrison.com.