The Center for Advocacy, Support and Transformation will host its first coffeehouse Saturday, Jan. 21, with the help of the New York State Council for the Arts. In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.‘s birthday, the theme for the event will be social justice.
“This event is a way to bring the community together in a welcoming space to learn,” said executive director Cathy Demeroto. “Our whole goal is to work to address poverty and food insecurity. Many of the people we serve are people of color and we thought it made sense to launch the event with this theme to remind people that, although we’ve come a long way, there’s still so much to do.”
Five artists and storytellers from varied ethnic backgrounds will perform at Saturday’s event. Each will tell stories about their life and experiences, focusing on issues related to culture, social justice and discrimination. Among the performers is Andrina Wekontash Smith, a Shinnecock storyteller who keeps the human experience at the core of her work. Her stories often are based on the notion of identity.
“The work I do highlights the unique vantage point that I experienced growing up poor in the Hamptons on a reservation,” said Ms. Wekontash Smith. “I ask myself how that intersection of identity impacts my day-to-day encounters and the way that I navigate the world. I don’t get to sit in the crevice of identity comfortably, which influences the way I see the world. With my work, I invite permission to be inquisitive and to feel community and connection in the nuances of identity we don’t often talk about.”
The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at CAST’s Treiber Gathering Hall in Southold. There is no fee, but attendees are asked to register in advance at https://e.givesmart.com/events/uwm/, where more information can also be found. CAST hopes to host at least three more community coffeehouse events this year.
“This is going to be a very interesting evening,” said Ms. Demeroto. “Our performers will be combining their talents, humors and passions. It will be such a great thing for our community to get together, share some laughs and hopefully grow.”