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How Storytelling Can Lead to Social Change

Using personal narratives as a catalyst for collective social impact, Asian American creatives and change-makers from OPAWL - Building AAPI Feminist Leadership and OBG - will share innovative, disruptive, movement building projects that re-write and challenge the dominant cultural narratives that shape our world.

Centering the voices of women and gender expansive leaders, activists, artists, educators, and writers Emily Hanako Momohara, Dr. Naazneen Diwan, Fariha Tayyab, and moderator Jing Lauengco, this powerful panel explores the practices of AAPI creativity, intersectionality, grassroots community organizing, and resilience that uplift immigrant stories to create social and political change.



Naazneen Diwan is a queer, Muslim poet and social justice educator. She founded Maktoub Collective and has been an Artist-in-Residence and a Lead Instructor for Baldwin House Urban Writing Residency hosted by Twelve Literary Arts in Cleveland. She attended Art Omi writers' residency and will be attending the VONA Summer 2021 workshops. She created Kalaashakti healing arts and meditation workshops with Muslim women in both Gujarat, India and California. Her poetry and prose can be found in the following journals, among others, Southern Humanities Review, Entropy Mag, The Yale Review, iō Literary Journal, Sky Island Journal, Cathexis Press, Serendipity Journal, Flypaper Magazine, and forthcoming in story South. She just completed her first poetry manuscript, Make a Season of Me, and is working on a flash fiction collection called Walas.


As a young Manila-born Filipina with a colorful imagination growing up in Ohio, Jing Lauengco saw the power of words, cross-cultural connections, and creative storytelling at an early age. Jing’s passion for Diversity, Design, and Digital Storytelling grew as an award-winning Brand Strategist, Chief Optimist, and Female Founder of Jing Inc., her design and business consultancy; Other Brown Girl (OBG), her social impact blog for modern, multicultural women of culture and next-gen #OtherBrownGIrl leaders and entrepreneurs; and her soon-to- launch podcast, Next Thing with Jing, exploring next chapters, new adventures, and real life-work life comebacks. Entrepreneur, former Design Firm Founder and Ad Agency Partner, Jing is currently completing a non-fiction book about traveling to the Philippines to trace her family roots while taking a tour through breast cancer. Jing serves on Literary Cleveland’s Board of Trustees shaping DEI Community Programming, and OPAWL - Ohio Progressive Asian Women Leadership, a female-led social justice coalition building intersectional feminist advocacy. Featured in Cleveland Magazine’s 10 Women Who Inspire Us in Cleveland, Cleveland’s Most Interesting People Creative ThinkerStoryClub Cleveland, and ideastream’s The Sound of Ideas, Jing teaches women and girls how to find their voice and design positive, self-empowering identities in their own words and own way. Jing’s living the dream inspiring the next generation of modern womxn, creative entrepreneurs, and multicultural, multi-hyphenates to dream bigger and bolder – one brand and story at a time. 

Emily Hanako Momohara grew up outside of Seattle, Washington in a mixed-race family. Her work centers around issues of heritage, multiculturalism, immigration and social justice. Momohara has exhibited internationally including group shows at the Light Factory in Charlotte NC, Griffin Museum of Photography in Boston, MA and Houston Center for Photography, TX, Changjiang International Photography & Video Biennale, Chongqing, China and Art Nova 100 Beijing, China. Momohara’s solo exhibitions have occurred at 21c Museum Hotel Flagship, Louisville, KY; the Aaronoff Center for the Arts, Weston Art Gallery in Cincinnati, OH; Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA and educational and commercial galleries. In 2015, her work appeared in a 2-person exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles CA titled Sugar Islands. Momohara was awarded artist residencies at several programs including the Red Gate Gallery, Beijing, Center for Photography at Woodstock, Headlands Center for the Arts and the Photographic Center Northwest. Her work was reviewed in Photographer’s Forum, Aeqai, PhotoPages and Art Papers. Momohara was featured in a number or public art projects such as the For Freedoms 50 State Initiative billboard campaign and NYC Photoville. She earned a BFA in Photography and BA in Art History from the University of Washington, as well as her MFA in Expanded Media from the University of Kansas. She serves as Associate Professor of Studio Art at the Academy of Cincinnati. She is currently a board of trustee at the Cincinnati Contemporary Art Center and member of Ohio Progressive Asian Women’s Leadership.

Fariha Tayyab is a multidisciplinary artist hailing from Houston. As a writer and photographer, her work revolves around the themes of identity and social justice. Fariha's creative work is published in Columbus Alive, Vox Media, Brown Girl Magazine, The Eater, the Columbus anthology, and various literary journals and publications. She has performed and facilitated workshops at multiple venues and conferences, including the University of Iowa's International Writing Program, the Columbus Museum of Art, the historic Lincoln Theatre, the Girl Scouts national conference, Making Midwest Fest, and other schools and community organizations. Additionally, Fariha has received recognition from the Ohio Arts Council, graduated from the Lincoln Theatre's artist incubation program, and received grants from the Greater Columbus Arts Council. Aside from her artistry and facilitation, Fariha mentors emerging artists and works to establish sustainable community programming around her passions to fight illiteracy, housing insecurity, and youth inequity. 


Details: How Storytelling Can Lead to Social Change takes place Sunday, July 25 from 3-4:30pm remotely through Zoom. 


Zoom Info: Register for the panel and Lit Cleveland will send you an invitation and instructions on how to attend via Zoom. 

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