Black Lives Matter.
Inlandia Institute stands with our region’s Black community in opposing racism and white supremacy and condemning police brutality and violence against Black people and Black communities everywhere. We stand with Black readers, writers, and poets. With Black families and youth. With Black educators and creators. With all who stand against injustice. Read our full statement here.
Inlandia Institute’s Blacklandia Events Series was initiated in 2020 in response to the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police on May 25 of that year. As an organization centered around the power of words, one that values speaking up, and speaking out, Inlandia made a renewed and public commitment to providing a space for people in the Black community to come together, and from that arose a Black-led Black voices steering committee, and a new series of events, Blacklandia.
Black Voices Steering Committee:
Nia Sharron Campbell
Dr. Natalie Graham
Dr. Keenan Norris
Lydia Theon Ware i
CelenaDiana Bumpus, in memorium
Alex Avila, a native New Yorker, hails from the Bronx, New York City. A Black Latino Honduran, he explores issues of identity and biculturalism in his works of prose and poetry. He is a Cal State University creative writing MFA graduate, with a specialty in multi-modal digital storytelling. Alex serves as an editor and writer of Ghost Town, the national literary magazine, and is an English professor at Cal State University, San Bernardino. He was accepted into the Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop, one of the top writing programs in the United States, where he studied advanced poetics.
Nia Sharron Campbell is a performance poet and honors English major at Riverside City College. When she was 15 years old, she attended her first Inlandia class. Nia was awarded a bronze medal for representing the NAACP’s Riverside Branch in a national competition. Grateful for Inlandia mentors CelenaDiana Bumpus, Matthew Nadelson, and Nikia Chaney, Nia writes poetry, plays, short stories, books, and screenplays. In addition to this, she uses her talent for written expression to bring awareness to important issues such as mental health, race, sexual orientation, and humanity.
Poet Nikia Chaney is the author of us mouth (University of Hell Press, 2018) and two chapbooks, Sis Fuss (2012, Orange Monkey Publishing) and ladies, please (2012, Dancing Girl Press). She has served as Inlandia Literary Laureate (2016-2018). She is founding editor of shufpoetry, an online journal for experimental poetry, and founding editor of Jamii Publishing, a publishing imprint dedicated to fostering community among poets and writers. She has been published in the Portland Review, Welter, Vinyl, Saranac Review, Kweli, 491, and Apogee.
Ginger M. Galloway is an author, poet, and artist. Born and raised in San Diego, she moved to the Inland Empire in 2003 where she lives with her husband and four of their seven children. Ginger has authored an illustrated a number of books and is a proud member of Blacklandia. Ginger teaches art to kids at Enhance the Gift Academy and hosts the African American Book Festival IE.
Natalie J. Graham is a native of Gainesville, Florida, and earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Florida. She completed her Ph.D. in American Studies at Michigan State University as a University Distinguished Fellow. Her first poetry collection, Begin with a Failed Body (University of Georgia Press, 2017), was selected by Kwame Dawes for the 2016 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. She is Chair of African American Studies at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), Director of the Institute of Black Intellectual Innovation, and was name Poet Laureate of Orange County in 2021.
Lisa Henry is an independent curator based in Southern California and Chair of the Blacklandia Steering Committee. Lisa was formerly Assistant Curator for American Art at the Newark Museum. She has been a guest curator and art consultant for institutions on both the east and west coasts, including The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, The High Museum of Art, The California African American Museum, Leica Gallery New York, The UCLA Hammer Museum, The Japanese American National Museum, The MAK Center for Architecture, University Art Gallery at UC San Diego, The California Museum of Photography, and Riverside Art Museum.
Dr. Keenan Norris is a novelist, essayist and short story writer. He holds an M.F.A. from Mills College and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Riverside. Keenan was a 2017 Marin Headlands Artist-in-Residence and has garnered a Public Voices fellowship (2020), a Callaloo fellowship (2016) and two Yerba Buena Center for the Arts fellowships (2017, 2015). He serves as a guest editor for the Oxford African-American Studies Center. In 2021, he published the novel, The Confession of Copeland Cane.
Lydia Theon Ware i founded and leads the Cartless creative writing workshop for people experiencing homelessness. She is the author of Signs, a tiny gift book, D.I.R.T.: A Poem Song, and Awe: Love Letters to the Most High, a praise compilation of poetry and love letters to Jesus.
Romaine Washington, M. Ed., is the author of Purgatory Has an Address (Bamboo Dart Press) and Sirens in Her Belly (Jamii Publications). She has been published in a wide variety of anthologies and periodicals, and served as a public school educator for over twenty years. Romaine is a native Californian from San Bernardino who currently resides in the Inland Empire. Visit her website for a free social justice curriculum: https://www.romainewashington.com/.
CelenaDiana Bumpus was a beloved poet, teacher, and mentor who passed away in 2021. She was the author of the poetry collection, Confessions (1998, The Inevitable Press), and her poems were published in a variety of journals. After her death, an Inlandia Creative Writing Workshop, Celena’s Scribes, was established in her honor.