Kopkind, the magical retreat in Southern Vermont for media makers and activists is headed for its 17th summer, and is calling for people who are interested in attending to send letters of intent.
The political camp for journalists and activists will run from J. The deadline for applying for this camp is Saturday, June 13.
The project was started as a living memorial to the great radical journalist Andrew Kopkind. Since 1999 we have been bringing people together for a week-plus of political and cultural exploration, intellectual stimulation and rest, an experience of provocative ideas, delicious food and great company amid the pastoral beauty of Tree Frog Farm in Southern Vermont, where Andy spent twenty-five summers with his life partner, John Scagliotti, the documentary filmmaker and pioneer in gay media, who is Kopkind’s administrator. This project in Andy’s name follows in his spirit of thinking deeply, living expressively and extending the field for freedom, pleasure and imagination.
The political camp brings younger journalists, activists and other media makers together with political veterans, whom we call mentors, to consider the issues of the day, their own work and the larger question of justice – toward creating a world fit to live in – in light of a particular theme.
This year’s theme is Freedom to Be.
The latest death of a young black man in police custody—symbol of state repression and of more than 400 people killed by police since the start of the year—shouts out loud, again, that there is a struggle in this country for existence. But no one in the streets, from Ferguson to Baltimore, believes that freedom from a police beating or bullet is the outer limit of aspiration. What is being in the fullest sense? And might we think about the multiple assaults on it—and the multiple, seemingly distinct, rights movements—within the framework of a Freedom to Be? How are bodily integrity and the free flowering of the mind not only pleasant ideas but also concepts rooted in the freedom struggle against slavery and in the radical tradition, and how do they resonate now, in our time and place? Kopkind’s late alumna, board member and dear sister, Pamela Bridgewater Toure, worked at the intersection of race, reproductive rights, sexual freedom, internationalism, history and law. This year’s camp is inspired by her memory and by the recent uprisings of people in the streets.
We are thrilled to announce our two mentors: Angela Ards and Darnell Moore.
Angela grew up in Dallas, TX, and, as a journalist focusing on politics and culture for the Village Voice, Essence, The Nation and other publications, was one of Kopkind’s earliest participants (in 2000). Now a professor of English at Southern Methodist University, she is passionate about how storytelling and language engages and shapes political thought. She has published extensively on African American literature and culture in the post-Brown v. Board of Education era, a historical moment that continues to demand recalibrated ways of thinking about black identity and struggle, and, thus, about America and the world. Her new book, Words of Witness: Black Women’s Autobiography in the Post-Brown Era will be published this fall.
Darnell, a writer and activist, grew up in Camden, NJ, where close acquaintance with the multiple oppressions facing black and brown queer youth helped shape his adult work and thought at the cross streets of race, class, sexuality, religion and social and economic justice. A senior editor at MicNews and co-managing editor of The Feminist Wire, he has written for numerous publications, from The Guardian to The Advocate to VICE and academic journals. He served as chair of the City of Newark’s LGBTQ Concerns Advisory Commission, was a member of the first US lgbtq delegation to Palestine in 2012, and currently organizes with Black Lives Matter-NYC. With Patrisse Cullors, he co-organized the national solidarity #BLM Ride to Ferguson last summer.
Program and Application:
Kopkind encourages young people to apply who have been at work for a few years as political journalists/media makers or activists/organizers (or hybrids) and who are committed politically and personally to this kind of work. Although the average age tends to be about 28, age is not a hard and fast category, except that for legal/insurance reasons we cannot invite people under 21.
Participants should come prepared to discuss, assess, explore their own work, political experience and ideas in relation to the theme.
The program is entirely free, including transportation. (The 25th and 2nd are travel days.) There are seminars every morning from 9:30 to 12:30; free afternoons for swims, walks, games, conversation, rest; and evening discussions sometimes with special guests, one of which is a free public event.
The emphasis is on interaction and group enjoyment. Internet use is, therefore, limited.
People must be able to commit to the full program.
Participants stay in individual cabin rooms. We arrange for travel, as well as transport from airport or bus/rail station to Tree Frog Farm, and for all meals.
Interested applicants should send a letter of intent, telling us a little about their work, themselves and their politics, and explaining why they would like to come this year in particular. They should also tell us how they heard about the project.
Letters should be sent to JoAnn Wypijewski, program director of Kopkind, at email@example.com. If anyone has questions, please don’t hesitate to email her or phone 646.498.5810. Letters of intent should include all the applicants’ contact information, phones and mailing address, and must be submitted by Saturday, June 13, 2015.