BENJI HART / b. 1989
author / educator / artist


EDUCATION

M.A. Elementary Education / University of Illinois / Chicago, 2014
B.A. African American Studies / Wesleyan University / Middletown, 2011


FELLOWSHIPS + AWARDS

Artist-In-Residence / Trillium Arts / Mars Hill, 2022
3Arts Fellow / MacDowell / Peterborough, 2020
Artist-In-Residence / Amsterdam University of the Arts / Amsterdam, 2019
3Arts Fellow / Robert Rauschenberg Residency / Captiva, 2018
Visiting Fellow / Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership / Kalamazoo, 2018
Awardee / Solidarity to Celebrate / Chicago, 2016
Awardee in the Teaching Arts / 3Arts / Chicago, 2015


PERFORMANCES + READINGS

Book Launch: Against Heaven by Kemi Alabi / Women & Children First / Chicago, 2022
Cultivating Us: A Night of Civic Love / Chicago United for Equity / Chicago, 2022
Close Encounters
/ Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art / Copenhagen, 2021
In Progress
/ Museum of Contemporary Art / Chicago, 2021
Exhibit B
/ Guild Literary Complex / Chicago, 2021
Signs of Change
/ Gallery of Contemporary Mosaics / Chicago, 2021
WordPlay
/ Young Chicago Authors / Chicago, 2020
Elements of Vogue
 / Museo Universitario del Chopo / Mexico City, 2020
HALf6 / Amsterdam University of the Arts / Amsterdam, 2019
Dyke Mic
 / Ojo de Fortuna, Slaymaker & AMFM Gallery / Chicago, 2016-2019
What Happens After
/ BRIC House / New York, 2018
The #BreathingRoom Series / #BreathingRoom Space / Chicago, 2018
Do Not Resist? / Hairpin Arts Center / Chicago, 2018
Salonathon / Beauty Bar / Chicago, 2016-2018


WORKSHOPS + FACILITATION

Political Education + Youth Work

Social Justice Club / Sullivan High School, 2021-2022
Abolition 101 Training
/ Coalition to Decarcerate IL, 2022
La Resistencia Fellowship
/ Logan Square Neighborhood Association, 2022
Volunteer Training / People Matter, 2021-2022
Youth Ensemble
/ Free Street Theater, 2022
Be Bold / Pilgrim Congregational Church of Oak Park, 2021
Invest/Divest Learning Community / Interrupting Criminalization, 2021
DisOrientation / Dissenters, 2020-2021
Summer Leadership Retreat
/ Chicago Desi Youth Rising, 2015-2021
Youth Summer Institute
/ Pilsen Alliance, 2019-2021
Youth Action 
/ Southside Together Organizing for Power, 2018-2021
Abolitionist Youth Organizing Institute
/ Project NIA, 2020-2021
Storytelling and Racial Justice / Amherst Regional High School, 2021
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
/ Phillips Academy Andover, 2021
Ominira Teen Program
/ Assata’s Daughters, 2017-2018, 2020
LGBTQ Economic Justice Summit / Chicago LGBTQ Workers Center, 2020
Fighting Anti-Blackness / Cicero Community Collaborative, 2020
#DefundPolice Club / St. Steven’s Youth Programing, 2020
Summer Leadership Institute / Chicago Freedom School, 2020
A History of Policing / Freedom Lifted, 2020
West Side Youth Abolitionist Training / American Friends Service Committee, 2020
A Just Chi / Asian Americans Advancing Justice, 2020
Virtual Week of Action / Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism, 2020
Reproductive Justice & Prison Abolition / Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, 2020
Revolutionary Oak Park Youth Action League / Percy Julian Middle School, 2020
Elements of Vogue / Museo Universitario del Chopo, 2020
Youth Leadership Retreat / Southside Together Organizing for Power, 2019
Journeys / Embarc Chicago, 2019
Health Disparities: Equity & Advocacy / Pritzker School of Medicine, 2019
Training the Future: Context, Difference & Awareness in Dance Education / Amsterdam University of the Arts, 2019
Student Voice & Activism Fellowship / Chicago Public Schools, 2018-2019
Mes de Orgullo / PASO West Suburban Action Project, 2018-2019
Asamblea Comunitaria / Organized Communities Against Deportations, 2019
Annual Youth Summit / Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, 2018-2019
Demilitarization School / War Resisters League, 2019
Intersectional Approaches to Social Work with LGBTQIA Individuals & Communities / University of Chicago, 2019
Youth Theater Ensemble / About Face Theater, 2019
Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership / Kalamazoo, 2018
Prisoners & Detainees: Race, Citizenship & Imprisonment / Kalamazoo College, 2018

Professional Development + Guest Lectures

Core Retreat / Organized Communities Against Deportations, 2019, 2022
(Un)Learning Sessions
/ Forward Together, 2022
Creating New Anchors: An Introduction to Prison Industrial Complex Abolition
/ University of Chicago, 2021-2022
Staff Retreat
/ Dissenters, 2021-2022
Portal Project
/ Social Justice Initiative, 2021-2022
Safety Training / Dissenters, 2021
Youth Knowledge and Activism in Contemporary Social Justice Movements
/ Clark University, 2021
We Do This ‘Til We Free Us
/ The New School / 2021
Prisons & Policing
/ Seattle University School of Law, 2021
Staff Retreat
/ Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, 2021
Staff Retreat / Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network, 2021
Deconstructing Language: Liberationist Writing for Performance
/ National Center for Choreography at Akron, 2021
#4TheQulture / Open Television, 2021
Engage Chicago / Northwestern University, 2018-2021
All-Staff Meeting / Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, 2021
Disrupt the System
/ Cornell University, 2021
Rise ‘N’ Learn / Illinois Public Health Association, 2021
Surveillance Culture 
/ Colby College, 2021
Black Performance History
/ Smith College, 2020
GARE Abolition Series / Race Forward, 2020
Liberation Collective
/ Phillips Academy Andover, 2020
Free Black Mamas Bail Out Pre-Convening
/ National Bail Out, 2020
Strategic Planning / Chicago Community Bond Fund, 2020
Invisible 2 Invincible
/ Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago, 2019-2020
Indicting the Racist War on Drugs
/ Law For Black Lives & People’s Law Office, 2020
Convening on Disrupting Police Gang Labeling
/ Grace Place, 2019
Towards an Accountable Chicago / Chicago Freedom School, 2019
Annual Retreat / For the People Artists Collective, 2018
Azubike Facilitator Training Program / Assata’s Daughters, 2018
Rev Up / Chicago Freedom School, 2017-2018
Semiannual Retreat / Love & Protect, 2018

Poetry + Spoken Word

(Un)Learning Sessions / Forward Together, 2022
Liberation Library Poetry Writing Series
/ St. Charles Juvenile Detention Center, 2021
Health Disparities: Equity & Advocacy / Pritzker School of Medicine, 2019
Training the Future: Context, Difference & Awareness in Dance Education / Amsterdam University of the Arts, 2019
Fire Historical & Cultural Arts Collaborative / Kalamazoo, 2019

Voguing + Movement

Trans*forming Social Work / University of Chicago, 2022
Close Encounters
/ Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art, 2021
The LGBTQ Center
/ Brown University, 2021
#CopsOutCPS
/ Chicago Public Schools Headquarters, 2020
Training the Future: Context, Difference & Awareness in Dance Education
/ Amsterdam University of the Arts, 2019
FOCUS on the Arts / Highland Park High School, 2019
Chosen Family Day / Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, 2019
ARTivism Series / UIC Latino Cultural Center, 2018
What Happens After / BRIC House, 2018
Intercultural Center / Kalamazoo College, 2018


PUBLISHED WRITING

Anthologies

The Hoodoisie, 2022 / Never Normal Again
Beacon Press
, 2022 / And the Category Is… : Inside New York’s Vogue, House, and Ballroom Community
Oxford University Press
, 2021 / Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: Second Edition
Motto Books
, 2020 / Elements of Vogue: A Case Study in Radical Performance
Chicago Architecture Biennial
, 2019 / The Funambulist by its Readers: Political Geographies from Chicago and Elsewhere
AK Press, 2017 / Rebellious Mourning: The Collective Work of Grief
AK Press, 2015 / Taking Sides: Radical Solidarity & the Poverty of Liberalism

Essays + Poems

Sixty Inches from Center, 2022 / Makeup, Mortification, and Memory: A Review of “Evidence” by Bimbola Akinbola
Project NIA
, 2022 / Practicing Abolition, Creating Community
Performance Response Journal
, 2021 / Discerning the Current: A response by Benji Hart
The Funambulist
, 2021 / Forcing Black People to Interact With Police Is Itself State Violence
The Funambulist
, 2021 / What COVID, Police Killings, and My Rent Increasing All Have in Common
Autostraddle
, 2021 / For Trans Puerto Ricans, Passing Laws Is Only Part of the Battle for Liberation
Time Magazine
, 2021 / The Ballroom Scene Has Long Offered Radical Freedoms For Black and Brown Queer People. Today, That Matters More Than Ever
Autostraddle
, 2020 / Principles of Pride: Police and Prisons Do Not Belong in Our Future
Out of Print, 2020 /
In A Pandemic, Prison Abolition Is More Necessary and More Possible Than Ever
Truthout
, 2020 / ICE Is Torturing LGBTQ Immigrants by Putting Them in Solitary
Poetry Foundation
, 2019 / On Trans Day of Resilience, Envisioning the End of the Systems that Killed Layleen Polanco
Forward Together, 2019 / Layleen’s Bill (With Revisions)
Them
, 2019 / This Bookstore Is Still on the Cutting Edge of Feminism, 40 Years Later
ArtsEverywhere
, 2019 / Vogue Is Not For You: Deciding Who We Give Our Art To
Chicago Reader
, 2019 / How #NoCopAcademy Shook the Machine
The Advocate
, 2019 / Chicago’s First Black Lesbian Mayor Isn’t A Victory For All Queers
Teen Vogue
, 2019 / What to Expect When Visiting A Plantation Where Your Ancestors Were Enslaved
In These Times
, 2018 / Seeking Justice for Laquan McDonald—Without Relying on Prisons
Black Youth Project, 2018 / Calls to #AbolishICE are counterproductive unless they are also a call to #AbolishPolice
In These Times, 2018 / There’s Nothing New About Not Calling the Cops
JooJoo Azad, 2018 / You Cannot Challenge Gun Violence Without Challenging the Military
Praxis Center, 2018 / Understanding Neoliberalism is Key to Building a Global Struggle for Economic Justice
In These Times, 2018 / Centrist Dems May Not Call Black and Brown Communities Shitholes–But They Treat Them That Way


CONSULTATION

Artistic Fellow / Young Chicago Authors, 2022
Spring Issue / Stateville Speaks, 2022
#HateCrimeLawsArentTheAnswer / Transgender Law Center, 2021
Mutual Aid + ACP / Alternatives to Calling the Police During Mental Health Crises, 2021


INTERVIEWS + FEATURES

The Turn On x Benji Hart / The Turn On Podcast, 2022
Sibling Miniseries #9: Benji and Maya Hart / How to Survive the End of the World, 2021
Black, Trans & / Glori Tuitt, 2021
Benji Has Nothing But Hart! / The Real Hoodwives of Chicago, 2021
Our Grieving Hands Will Build It: A Collaborative Memorial Event / Lifted Voices, 2021
Trans and Non-Binary BIPOC Poets Discuss Human Rights & Poetics of Justice with Kay Ulanday Barrett / Lambda Literary, 2021
Benji Hart, on Abolition and Sports / Burn It All Down, 2021
Envisioning New Futures with Benji Hart / South Side Weekly Radio, 2020
Let This Radicalize You: A COVID Memorial Mixtape / Lifted Voices, 2020
The Grassroots VS The Misleadership Class / Groundings, 2020
6 Modern Abolitionists On What Emancipation Means For Juneteenth 2020 / Elite Daily, 2020
10 Black Women and Queer Activists Working to Change Chicago / Block Club Chicago, 2020
Building a World Without Police and Prisons / Queering Left, 2020
Questions to Ask While Waiting / The United States of Anxiety, 2020
LGBTQ+ Liberation vs. Representation ft. Benji Hart / Bourbon ‘n BrownTown, 2019
Now We Know We Can Reclaim the World We Want: A Conversation with Pony Zion and Benji Hart / ArtsEverywhere, 2019
Mayor-Elect Lori Lightfoot’s Track Record / Out-FM, 2019
#EndMoneyBail / Coalition to End Money Bond, 2019
Ep 166 – Benji Hart / Airgo Radio, 2018
How to Vogue the Right Way / What Should We Do?, 2018
Artists From Around The World Discover On Captiva / WGCU, 2018
Resources Prevent Violence. Policing Doesn’t. / Truthout, 2018
Do Not Resist?: An FTP Mixtape / For the People Artists Collective, 2018


PRESENTATIONS + PANELS

Panelist / Yoga & the Roots of Healing Justice: Abolition
w/ Damon Williams, Noha Arafa & Peregrine Bermas
Socially Engaged Yoga Network / Chicago, 2022

Panelist / Ball Culture + Abolition
w/ Ricky Tucker
Bagatelle Books / Asheville, 2022

Panelist / Failing Police Reforms
w/ Alysia Harris
Criminal Justice Live / PushBlack, 2022

Panelist / Reflections on the Artist Experience + Expanding Opportunities in the Field
w/ Alisha B Wormsley, Jordan Seaberry & Justin Levesque
Artist Communities Alliance / Providence, 2021

Panelist / Imagine a World Without Prisons
w/ Derecka Purnell & Dylan Rodriguez
International Festival of Arts & Ideas / New Haven, 2021

Panelist / Ballroom Has Something to Say…About Art, Justice & Healing
w/ Ayana Christian, Jennifer E. Lee, Marlon M. Bailey & Michael Roberson
Table Talks / Reimagine, 2021

Panelist / Abolition & Revolutionary Imaginations
w/ Bresha Meadows, Asha Edwards & Lil Tree
Race & the Politics of Incarceration / University of Illinois at Chicago, 2021

Panelist / Disability Justice & the Fight for Racial Equity
w/ Dior Vargas & Jae Jin Pak
ADA 25 Advancing Leadership / Chicago, 2020

Panelist / DEFUND REFORM REIMAGINE
w/ Allyssa Victory & Edgar Ibarra
Building Healthy Communities / East Salinas, 2020

Panelist / Abolition Is Not Conditional: Connecting Across Issue Areas
w/ Setareh Ghandehari, Sharlyn Grace, Dominique Morgan & Azadeh Shahshahani
#Law4ThePeople Convention / National Lawyers Guild, 2020

Panelist / Political Geographies of Chicago
w/ Patricia Nguyen, Jesse Mumm, Maira Khwaja & Anjulie Rao
Chicago Architecture Biennial / Chicago Cultural Center, 2019

Panelist / Making Lineages Visible: Women & Femmes Organizing in Chicago
w/ Kelly Hayes & Byul Yoon
Chicago Architecture Biennial / Jane Addams Hull-House, 2019

Panelist / The Aesthetics of Violence & Resistance, from Fashion to Architecture
w/ Hoda Katebi & Leena Odeh
Chicago Architecture Biennial / Arts Incubator, 2019

Panel Moderator / Chicago inJustice: Anti-Racist Action & Mass Incarceration
w/ Black & Pink Chicago & the Chicago Community Bond Fund
Norris University Center / Northwestern University, 2019

Featured Guest / Co-Conspirators Forum
w/ the #NoCopAcademy Campaign
The Hoodoisie / National Museum of Mexican Art, 2019

Panelist / Transformative Imaginations: Decarceration & Liberatory Futures
w/ Irene Romulo & Sister JoAnn Persch
Imagining America Conference / Studebaker Theater, 2018

Featured Guest / Assata: An Autobiography
w/ Hoda Katebi
#BecauseWe’veRead Book Club / Chicago, 2018

Featured Artist / Art on the Edge: Explorations in Contemporary Art
w/ Tao Hui, Robin Messing, Caledonia Curry, Rosanna Bruno & Mary Mattingly
Florida SouthWestern State College / Captiva, 2018

Panelist / Black Girl Mania: The Release Party
w/ Fulani Thrasher & Mimi Rosales
Reunion / Chicago, 2018