Check out the schedule for Rural Assembly Everywhere Spring 2022

Rural Assembly Schedule 2022

Our line up for Rural Assembly Everywhere is complete! Find out who is scheduled to appear at Rural Assembly Everywhere May 10 + 11 — and register if you haven’t yet for this gathering of diverse voices across the countryside.

Day 1: May 10

Mainstage 2 – 4 p.m. 

2 p.m. Opening Poem

Exodus Octavia BrownlowExodus Octavia Brownlow, Writer & Poet from rural Mississippi, will begin the day with a poetry reading.


Discussion: Nebraska is Home: The Power of Welcoming 

As rural communities across the U.S. grapple with economic and demographic shifts, how do we engage and include immigrants in solving community-wide problems? Join this discussion to hear from three women leaders in Crete, Scottsbluff, and Lincoln, Nebraska of diverse backgrounds as they share their journeys to build stronger connections between immigrant and non-immigrant communities, fight against divisive rhetoric, and ensure that inclusive policy is the norm in their communities. Panelists include Nancy Teller – Director  Community Assistance Office, City of Crete, NE; Valeria Rodriguez – Co-Founder & CEO, Empowering Families,  Scottsbluff, NE; Christa Yoakum, Sr. Welcoming Coordinator, Nebraska Is Home, Nebraska Appleseed. 

Interstitial videos from rural partners, communities, organizations featuring music, storytelling, and more

Deb Haaland

Remarks from Biden Administration:
Deb Haaland, Secretary U.S. Department of Interior 

Interstitial videos from rural partners, communities, organizations

Neema Avashia

In Conversation with Neema Avashia, author of “Another Appalachia: Growing up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place”

Skylar Baker-Jordan, contributing Editor for Community Engagement, 100 Days in Appalachia, interviews author and native West Virginian Neema Avashia. 

5 p.m. Breakout sessions 

Breakout 1: Young Voters: The future of Rural Communities and the Nation

Led by Rural Youth Catalyst Project Co-Founders Kim Phinney and Kathy Moxon and CIRCLE Deputy Director Abby Kiesa. Civic participation by rural young people is critical to building vibrant communities and a strong nation. Participation in elections, local, state, and national, is an indicator of their level of engagement in civic life. Yet, too often a lack of support exists for young people to see this entry point, access it, and feel welcomed.

Abby Kiesa, deputy director of CIRCLE, will share their new analysis about youth in rural areas and discuss the barriers to young voters from exercising their power. 

This live, interactive breakout session will be an opportunity learn about and share ways communities are building robust civic engagement of young people. 

Kiesa will join Kathy Moxon and Kim Phinney, co-founders of The Rural Youth Catalyst Project, a national rural youth initiative that works 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. 

Breakout 2: Instigate Joy + Activate Justice

Led by Diana K. Oestreich and Saadia Qureshi 

Courage requires us to plant our feet on two things: that joy is our birthright and everyone under the sun deserves it. Do you feel like stress is eating at you or have you silently waved the white flag? Showing up is hard work which is why we can’t do it without joy. You deserve to feel joy too, everybody does. Uncover your own stories and tools that fuel you in this interactive storytelling session. Root yourself in your stories and your strengths that will inspire you and instigate more joy and infectious courage as you live and go about your work.

This breakout session will give attendees a place to share how tired or worn out they are and map out their own tools of joy to integrate into their lives and work, increasing their resilience, and ability to connect across lines of difference and feel energized!

7 p.m. Happy Hour 

The Good, The Bad, The Elegy Happy Hour

Countless great stories start in rural places. From Smallville, Kansas to Tatooine in a galaxy far, far away and so many places in between, pop culture has taken us to many iconic rural locales.

 Join the team behind the Daily Yonder newsletter “The Good, the Bad, and the Elegy” as we rank spaces and places from the worlds of media and entertainment. What are the top tier destinations and what’s merely mid? Don’t worry if you’re not up on all the references, all are welcome to participate and play along!

May 11

Day 2 | 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm EST 

2 p.m. Welcome

Discussion: Democratizing our Food Systems

The U.S. agriculture sector is dominated by multinational corporations that have put small farming and ranching operations in rural communities out of business. This has led to the deterioration of food sovereignty, which is essential in building food security and giving people the ability to decide who produces their food and how. This panel will look at how we got to this point and what we can do to put power in the hands of people, not corporations. Speakers on this panel include Kelsey Scott, Director of Programs of the Intertribal Agriculture Council and owner and operator of DX Beef, a direct-to-consumer grass fed beef operation on the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation. Joining her is Loka Ashwood, a professor at the University of Kentucky who studies corporate and regulatory structures that prompt environmental injustices, especially in agriculture. This conversation will be moderated by Claire Carlson, rural reporting fellow for The Daily Yonder who reports on agriculture and the environment.

Interstitial videos from rural partners, communities, organizations

Remarks from Biden Administration: Xochitl Torres Small – Under Secretary for Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Interstitial videos from rural partners, communities, organizations

Whitney Kimball Coe

Live conversation: On Book Bans and Building an Inclusive Nation

Join Whitney Kimball-Coe, Vice President of National Programs Center for Rural Strategies, and her McMinn County, Tenn., neighbors , Austin Sauerbrei, Alex Sharp, Liv Cook, Cynthia McCowen, Dr. Patricia Waters, for a live discussion about book bans. They’ll discuss a first-hand experience with book banning: the book “Maus” was removed from the curriculum in their county school district earlier this year. 

In Conversation with Beau of the Fifth Column: Fact, Opinion, and the Democracy In Between

Xandr Brown, Associate Producer for the Center for Rural Strategies, interviews Youtube social commentator Beau of the Fifth Column.

5 p.m. ET Breakouts 

Breakout 1: Springboard for the Arts

Culture bearers, creatives, and artists are doing essential work in rural places. They’re organizing joyful community gatherings, facilitating storytelling and community planning, developing economic platforms for creative entrepreneurs, turning vacant buildings into welcoming spaces, and imagining our collective future. Join Springboard for the Arts for an interactive conversation with artists from their Rural Regenerator Fellowship program about how to collaborate effectively with artists on rural community topics of all types. This workshop will include time to engage with guided activities to reflect on steps you can take to nurture the creative people power that already exists in your community.

Breakout 2: Reporting on Rural: The How and the Why

The Rural Journalism Collective would like to invite you to participate in a discussion with Daily Yonder team members, and friends, that will explore why accurate representation of rural communities in media is important. The discussion will dive into how we’re looking at rural data, what we’ve been working on lately, and how we assess rural stories, among other things. Please join and bring your own questions and comments — there will be plenty of time for sharing and discussion. 

Rural Assembly Everywhere is a virtual festival for rural advocates and the rural-curious, listeners and leaders, neighbors and admirers. We’ll enjoy two days of programming, featuring artists and poets, civic leaders, and experts.
Register now!  

Drawing Resilience: Hannah Evans

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Drawing Resilience: Dorn Cox

Drawing Resilence: An interview with Dorn Cox, farmer and research director for the Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment in Freeport, Maine.

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Video: Brady Piñero Walkinshaw 

Earth Alliance CEO Brady Walkinshaw talks about changing mindsets about the climate crisis — and why he thinks rural communities will play a critical role in solving it.

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