Looking for full descriptions of our breakout sessions and happy hours? Click here. 

Schedule

Day One

Tuesday, April 20
Opening Poem
  • 2 p.m. ET
  • Nikky Finney

Opening Poem

Nikky Finney was born by the sea in South Carolina and raised during the Civil Rights, Black Power, and Black Arts Movements. She is the author of On Wings Made of Gauze; Rice; The World Is Round; and Head Off & Split, which won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2011. Her new collection of poems, Love Child’s Hotbed of Occasional Poetry, was released from TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press in 2020.

Tuesday, April 20
Conversation with Margaret Renkl
  • 2:03 p.m. ET
  • Margaret Renkl

Conversation with Margaret Renkl

Join Whitney Kimball Coe in conversation with Margaret Renkl, author of Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss. She is also a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, where her essays appear each Monday. Her work has also appeared in Guernica, Literary Hub, Oxford American, River Teeth, and The Sewanee Review, among others. A graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Carolina, she lives in Nashville.

Tuesday, April 20
Videos from Performers, Artists, Rural Partners
  • 2:45 p.m. ET

Videos from Performers, Artists, Rural Partners

Each day we will share performances, readings, and more from artists including Senora May, Kelle Jolly, Robert Gipe, Joy Priest, Shuly Cawood, and Eliza Blue. We’ll share videos and photos from other rural organizations, from rural youth, and from those of you responded to our calls for participation.

Tuesday, April 20
Susan Rice, Director of White House Domestic Policy Council
  • 3:00 p.m. ET
  • Susan Rice

Susan Rice, Director of White House Domestic Policy Council

We are pleased to present remarks from Susan Rice, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Join us for this special session to hear about the Biden Administration’s priorities for building equity and opportunity with rural and Native communities.

Tuesday, April 20
“Disinformation in Rural America” - Roundtable
  • 3:10 p.m. ET

“Disinformation in Rural America” - Roundtable

Join the Pinkerton Foundation's Erickson “EB” Blakney, an award-winning writer and reporter who has worked for WOR Radio, Bloomberg and CBS News, for a conversation with leading rural organizers, election analysts, and media specialists about disinformation campaigns in rural America.

Tuesday April 20
Videos from Performers, Artists, and Rural Partners
  • 3:45 p.m. ET

Videos from Performers, Artists, and Rural Partners

Each day we will share performances, readings, and more from artists including Senora May, Kelle Jolly, Robert Gipe, Joy Priest, Shuly Cawood, and Eliza Blue. We’ll share videos and photos from other rural organizations, from rural youth, and from those of you responded to our calls for participation.

Breakouts

Tuesday, April 20
Art Justice in Response to Covid19
  • 5 p.m. ET
  • Double Edge Theatre

Art Justice in Response to Covid19

Over the near 40 years of Double Edge Theatre’s existance, they have been advancing equity, justice, and imagination through performance, cultural exchange, and in their rural region of Ashfield, MA. Associate Producer Cariel Klein and Associate Artistic Director Travis Coe will discuss the Theatre’s ethos of Art Justice. They will detail how that concept was conceptualized at Double Edge and how Art Justice helped the long-term ensemble respond to drastic changes due to Covid-19. This will include an open discussion about how Art Justice can be put into practice in every situation as we continually search for light and uplift.

Tuesday, April 20
Design to Reclaim Rural America: What design visioning can do for your small town
  • 5 p.m. ET
  • Housing Assistance Council

Design to Reclaim Rural America: What design visioning can do for your small town

Join Housing Assistance Council and Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design leader, Evelyn Immonen, in a session that breaks down the built environment around us and how artists, planners, and citizens can team up to reclaim a place. Listeners will first get a basic understanding of what it is that architects and designers do, and a chance to demystify concepts like “design charette.” We’ll also hear a case study from a historically black church in Appalachian Ohio, and further discuss how to vision for public spaces as centers of history, healing, and community.

Tuesday, April 20
Empowering Rural Entrepreneurs to Make a Difference
  • 5 p.m. ET
  • Rural America Chamber of Commerce

Empowering Rural Entrepreneurs to Make a Difference

New national organization Rural America Chamber of Commerce will host this session about rural entrepreneurship and how we empower our local businesses to positively impact rural economies, rural communities, and rural livelihoods via public policy and social policy engagement and advocacy.

Tuesday April 20
Belonging Begins with Us
  • 5 p.m. ET

Belonging Begins with Us

Led by the Center for Inclusion and Belonging, this session focuses on a new national air and ground campaign to advance belonging in American communities called Belonging Begins with Us.

Happy Hours

Tuesday April 20
Pop Culture Happy Hour
  • 7 p.m. ET
  • The Daily Yonder

Pop Culture Happy Hour

Join the Daily Yonder for a rural pop culture happy hour.

Day Two

Wednesday April 21
Opening song
  • 2 p.m. ET

Opening song

Senora May is an engaging singer-songwriter and compelling onstage performer. She’s an artist whose talent will only grow because she knows so well who she is. Like the best songs, hers become more intricate and remarkable once they’re listened to more often and more closely. She’s like the countryside itself: not easy to define, impossible to tame, and always interesting.

Wednesday, April 21
Keynote
  • 2:05p.m. ET
  • Kiran Singh Sirah

Keynote

Kiran Singh Sirah is President of the International Storytelling Center (ISC). Prior to his appointment at ISC, Kiran developed a number of award-winning arts, cultural and human rights programs in cultural centers across the UK and Ireland. Widely recognized for advancing storytelling as a tool for building social empathy and intercultural understanding, he has spoken and led programming at the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, the US Senate of foreign relations, US state department, and the Pentagon.

Wednesday, April 21
Videos from Performers, Artists, Rural Partners
  • 2:25 p.m. ET

Videos from Performers, Artists, Rural Partners

Each day we will share performances, readings, and more from artists including Senora May, Kelle Jolly, Robert Gipe, Joy Priest, Shuly Cawood, and Eliza Blue. We’ll share videos and photos from other rural organizations, from rural youth, and from those of you responded to our calls for participation.

EITC: All the Social Math in the World with Rep. Terri Sewell and Ellen Nissenbaum
  • 2:35 PM ET

EITC: All the Social Math in the World with Rep. Terri Sewell and Ellen Nissenbaum

The recent expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) will benefit populations who need it most, especially rural and Native communities. Analysts tell us these expansions will benefit around 10.4 million rural residents across the country, delivering well-timed, high bang-for-the-buck stimulus when people file their taxes next year. Tune into this session to hear remarks from the Honorable Terri Sewell, co-chair of the Congressional Rural Caucus on the importance of these credits and how we make the recent expansions permanent for future generations. Following Rep. Sewell, we will welcome Ellen Nissenbaum, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, who will provide an in-depth analysis of EITC & CTC benefits in rural America.

Videos from Performers, Artists, and Rural Partners
  • 2:50 p.m. ET

Videos from Performers, Artists, and Rural Partners

Each day we will share performances, readings, and more from artists including Senora May, Kelle Jolly, Robert Gipe, Joy Priest, Shuly Cawood, and Eliza Blue. We’ll share videos and photos from other rural organizations, from rural youth, and from those of you responded to our calls for participation.

Wednesday, April 21
Indian Country Response to Covid - Roundtable
  • 3 p.m. ET

Indian Country Response to Covid - Roundtable

Throughout the pandemic, communities looked to the local and federal government for support in meeting their everyday needs. Although disproportionately affected, many Tribal Nations across the country took the response upon themselves, successfully staving off and addressing the pandemic, providing food, words of support and other necessities for those living in remote areas, often with limited supplies at their local grocery stores or gas stations. Learn about Tribal successes in protecting, providing and paving a path forward for their people in this challenging time.

Videos from Performers, Artists, and Rural Partners
  • 3:50 p.m. ET

Videos from Performers, Artists, and Rural Partners

Each day we will share performances, readings, and more from artists including Senora May, Kelle Jolly, Robert Gipe, Joy Priest, Shuly Cawood, and Eliza Blue. We’ll share videos and photos from other rural organizations, from rural youth, and from those of you responded to our calls for participation.

Breakouts

Wednesday, April 21
Rural Youth Catalyst Project
  • 5 p.m. ET
  • Rural Youth Catalyst Project

Rural Youth Catalyst Project

The Rural Youth Catalyst Project presents this breakout session. The Rural Youth Catalyst Project is an independent working group aligned with the Rural Assembly. Working nationally, the Rural Youth Catalyst Project aims to strengthen and create opportunities that allow rural and Native youth to realize their hopes and dreams while remaining in or returning to their communities.

Wednesday, April 21
The challenges and opportunities of pandemic response among women farmers and ranchers in rural America
  • 5 p.m. ET
  • American Farmland Trust

The challenges and opportunities of pandemic response among women farmers and ranchers in rural America

We know the pandemic continues to take a toll on all aspects of global life. The food supply chain has been particularly hard hit, with record Covid-19 infection rates in meat packing plants to the culling of hogs and the willful destruction of commodity crops as markets have collapsed demand and existing supply chains. Small and mid-sized farmers, however, in many cases have pivoted to respond to the food demands of their local and regional communities in ways that have allowed them to survive and, in some cases, thrive. We have seen that women farmers and farmers of color are at the forefront of feeding their communities and meeting rising food security needs as the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact society, globally and here in the U.S. As we emerge from the pandemic, what lessons have we learned that will guide our community as well as policy response to supporting these farmers in building more resilient food systems that center farmers and ranchers in ways that support their long-term success. Join our vibrant women-led and organized panel of farmers, ranchers, food system leaders and researchers engage in a moderated discussion to explore these themes and ask them some of your own questions.

Wednesday, April 21
Caring for Communities
  • 5 p.m. ET
  • Center for Rural Strategies

Caring for Communities

During harsh winters and throughout a pandemic, those experiencing homelessness or displacement in rural places are often invisible and without resources. Learn ways that you can make an impact in your communities by listening to Indigenous women that are dedicating their life’s work to supporting people from their communities.

Wednesday April 21
 Bridge to Somewhere: A United States Is Possible
  • 5 p.m. ET
  • Unify America

Bridge to Somewhere: A United States Is Possible

Can we bridge our divisions? Join us for an interactive 90 minute session about how you can play an integral part in bridging what divides us. Harry Nathan Gottlieb, founder of Jackbox Games and Unify America, will be joined by Andrew Hanauer of One America Movement, Kira Hamman of Urban Rural Action, and Anna Claussen of Voices of Rural Resilience to talk about how these organizations are all using different tactics to achieve the same goals: reducing contempt, providing opportunities for civil conversation, and showing us that we are more united than we think. Be prepared to laugh, have fun and learn while we come together to build bridges.

Happy Hours

Rural Youth Poetry Slam
  • 7 p.m. ET

Rural Youth Poetry Slam

Happy hours will take place each night after the conference and will be an informal opportunity to connect and network with others.