RE: COVID-19 ESA Conference Impact

Updated: 3/9/2020

Latest news from the Graduate Center means that this event is now cancelled. Please stay tuned to the website and the ESA Twitter account @ESA_GC for updates as we work to reschedule/modify this event.

Thanks for your support and patience as we develop an accessible response and plan for moving forward.

Dear all:

Writing with an update on COVID-19 and its impact on our upcoming English Student Association Conference Disability is Not A Metaphor: Access and Accessibility. I am immunocompromised due to chronic illness and am closely monitoring updates on the status of COVID-19. Currently, the CDC response is inadequate in considering the needs of sick and disabled people. 

With this in mind, we truly believe this conference and other events like this are especially crucial while the public imagination disregards and dehumanizes sick and disabled people. We want to extend the option to all presenters AND participants to join the conference remotely. If you’re feeling well enough to join us in person, we really want to host you. If you are not, we are working on the best way to include you in the event as fully as possible using video chatting/live streaming technology. This means a lot of work in our final few days before the conference, but your safety and inclusion is our top priority. 

We will continue to update you on all new information we receive, and any changes affecting our conference. In the meantime, we recommend trusting your bodymind. Please write to us with any questions or concerns. 

Jesse Rice-Evans

You can stay informed by visiting the following sites: 

World Health Organization

NYC Public Health

Keynote Info

Photo of a smiling Black person wearing long-sleeved floral and black overalls. They have a septum ring and stand in front of a blooming flower bush with white buds and green leaves.
Keynote by Cyrée Jarelle Johnson

Photo by J.D. Stokely

Cyrée Jarelle Johnson is a poet and writer from Piscataway, NJ. He holds an MFA from Columbia University. SLINGSHOT, Johnson’s first collection of poetry, was released in 2019 by Nightboat Books and has been reviewed in The New York Times, Ms. Magazine, and Lambda Literary Review. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Rewire News, Boston Review, Vice, and The Root. He has delivered lectures, recited poetry, and facilitated workshops at The White House, Whitney Museum of American Art, Interplanetary Festival, Performance Space NYC, and TEDxColumbia as well as colleges, youth groups, prisons, churches, and community spaces. Find out more about him at

RE: Trigger Warnings

Hi all!

We’ve received a great question about how to incorporate content warnings and notes into your presentation materials for this–and any–conference. Here are our suggestions:

We’re asking folks to include content notes (written and verbal) at the beginning of any presentation that may include triggering content, then allowing a few moments for folks who may need to take a break or not be present to leave without disrupting your presentation. 

If you plan on using slides, a slide dedicated to listing this information is appropriate. On written copies, a brief note at the top of the document works as well,

e.g. Content Warning: suicide, self-harm, etc.

I would also avoid any graphic images or descriptions of these and/or related behaviors in the content of the presentation.