The Public Square Speaker Series

The Public Square Speaker Series

Presented in partnership with the DC Public Library Foundation and Pepco, an Exelon Company.

About The Public Square

In celebration of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library's 50th anniversary, the DC Public Library is launching a new speaker series in partnership with the DC Public Library Foundation and Pepco: An Exelon Company, The Public Square.

Public Squares, like public libraries, are "third places" in our communities. They are social spaces that help us cultivate our sense of belonging outside of our first place, our homes and our second place, our workplace. They are spaces that foster good conversation and connection, where we can both learn from others and share our own knowledge. 

Through moderated discussions, The Public Square series will realize this idea of libraries as a third place by connecting leaders and innovators with the public to talk about the next phase of their work or scholarship. 

Coming Soon to The Public Square

Brittany Packnett CunninghamBrittany Packnett Cunningham | Thursday, Feb. 2, 7 p.m.

We are excited to invite social justice activist, author, and writer, Brittany Packnett Cunningham who will be in conversation with educator, author, playwright and director Soyica Colbert. Together they will be unpacking where we are in 2023 as we stare down the oppression that has risen up in backlash to the progress that we have made. Every day we are faced with headlines about police brutality against the Black community, violent rhetoric toward members of the LGBTQIA+ community, attempts at censorship in our schools and so much more. To put it simply, many of us are exhausted. When we are tired, it is easy to rely on those that have come before us, knowing that they will continue to put themselves out there to stand up for what is right. However, the reality is that oppression requires a response from all of us. Now is the time to think about what long-term resistance looks like for each and every one of us. How do we bring resistance home - literally? 

Gabby RiveraGabby Rivera | Saturday, Mar. 4, 3 p.m.
Hear from author Gabby Rivera. Charismatic and charming, Gabby Rivera is dedicated to empowering people and improving our marginalized communities. She made major waves for her Marvel series starring America Chavez: a queer, Latinx superhero who’s been written and designed, crucially, by a queer Latinx. And while the series tackles issues like America’s ancestry and ethnicity, it’s also a comic book with wide appeal: committed to snappy one-liners, blowing stuff up, and beating up the bad guys, naturally. Gabby shows how our differences are a gift—one that empowers us to inspire others and tell new and unique stories. No matter who you are or where you’re from, Gabby champions telling your own story as a form of love and revolution. 

Previously on The Public Square
Dr. Jelani Cobb

Dr. Jelani Cobb | Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2022
Writer, author, educator and dean of the Columbia Journalism School Jelani Cobb and Washington Post journalist Keith Alexander as they talked about the intersection of race and culture and how our future will be determined by how we grapple with our history. A long-time writer for The New Yorker, and editor of its recent anthology collection The Matter of Black Lives, Cobbs work is described as having the “rigor and depth of a professional historian with the alertness of a reporter, the liberal passion of an engaged public intellectual, and the literary flair of a fine writer.”

The Public Square is presented in partnership with the DC Public Library Foundation and Pepco, an Exelon Company.