I want a president: transcript of a rally, November 6, 2016
New York City, USA: Self-published, 2017
50 pp., 28 x 22 cm., staple-bound
Edition of 100
Documentation of an event held on New York City’s High Line, two days before the election. Participating artists include Sharon Hayes, Wu Tsang, Mel Elberg, Eileen Myles, Pamela Sneed, Fred Moten & Stefano Harney, Alexandro Segade, Layli Long Soldier, Malik Gaines, and Justin Vivian Bond & Nath Ann Carrera.
"'I want a president: Transcript of a Rally' documents an afternoon of readings, speeches and performances on Nov. 6, 2016 on New York City’s High Line. Two days before the general election, the event convened artists, poets and performers to reflect on political leadership and community action in relation to my 1992 text I want a president. After the election, the memory of that day took on a different meaning, and we decided to make this book as a way to mark these ongoing conversations, and our continuing belief in the possibility of an equitable, sustainable and compassionate society."
— Zoe Leonard, 2017
The work is available for $9.71 US, here, and for free, as a PDF, here. Part of the proceeds from the sales of the paper edition are earmarked for Black & Pink, a national organization that provides support for LGBTQ prisoners, currently and formerly incarcerated, through advocacy, education, direct service, and organizing.
“I want a dyke for president. I want a person with AIDS for president and I want a fag for vice president and I want someone with no health insurance and I want someone who grew up in a place where the earth is so saturated with toxic waste that they didn’t have a choice about getting leukemia. I want a president that had an abortion at sixteen and I want a candidate who isn’t the lesser of two evils and I want a president who lost their last lover to AIDS, who still sees that in their eyes every time they lay down to rest, who held their lover in their arms and knew they were dying. I want a president with no air-conditioning, a president who has stood in line at the clinic, at the DMV, at the welfare office, and has been unemployed and laid off and sexually harassed and gaybashed and deported. I want someone who has spent the night in the tombs and had a cross burned on their lawn and survived rape. I want someone who has been in love and been hurt, who respects sex, who has made mistakes and learned from them. I want a Black woman for president. I want someone with bad teeth and an attitude, someone who has eaten that nasty hospital food, someone who crossdresses and has done drugs and been in therapy. I want someone who has committed civil disobedience. And I want to know why this isn’t possible. I want to know why we started learning somewhere down the line that a president is always a clown. Always a john and never a hooker. Always a boss and never a worker. Always a liar, always a thief, and never caught.”
- Zoe Leonard, 1992