Rutgers University at Newark
Ghulum and Arifa Azad Family
Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Antonio Lopez received a double B.A. in Global Cultural Studies (Literature) and African-American studies from Duke University (Class of 2016). Since high school, Antonio’s believed in the power of language as a vehicle for social change, publishing a personal essay, “I Can Move Through World,” that explored the teenage trappings of being a working-class, first generation college-bound Mexican-American, especially within an affluent, predominately white prepatory.
At Duke, he sought to hone skills in writing, (public) speaking, and organizing. He’d become an inaugural John Lewis Fellow (Humanity in Action), a recipient of Rudolph William Rosati Creative Writing Award, among other honors. As eventual President of La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Inc., he’d utilize the organization to advance social programs that addressed community issues—from machismo/Latinx sexuality, to black and brown labor, to LARP, an annual program which invites approximately 50 middle school students (of color) to the campus. Meanwhile, he’d frequently send letters to The Chronicle, the school’s newspaper. These letters to the editor tried to shed light on struggle of the Latinx student community at Duke, particularly during the 2015 fight for a cultural space. It was through this context, coupled with close relationships to Durham-based Muslims, that Antonio converted to Islam.
Since then, Antonio’s focused on further crafting his poetry, pursuing a Master in Fine Arts at Rutgers University-Newark. About to enter his 2nd year, Antonio hopes to use a poem to capture those unsung stories of brown folk, and beyond. He was a finalist for the 2017 Nazim Hikmet Poetry Prize. In 2017, he attended the Yale Writer’s Conference, the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference, as well as have been awarded the Lucille Clifton Memorial Scholarship in order to attend the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. His nonfiction has been featured in TeenInk, The Chronicle, PEN/America and his poetry in Gramma Press, Eclectica, Hispanecdotes, La Bloga, Acentos Review, Sinking City, What Rough Beast, By&By, Permafrost and Happy Hour Review.
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