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This event was part of Reimagine Events

Reimagine Virtual Candlelight Vigil with Julian Randall

Let's honor our loved ones, hold space for grief, and reflect on the possibilities of transformation with poet Julian Randall, author of the newly released collection of essays, "The Dead Don't Need Reminding". Our other featured guest is Tony Pham, a facilitator, meditation teacher, healer, and Reimagine community collaborator.

Reimagine has been hosting candlelight vigils since March 2020, the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to break down taboos and hold space for all that we've lost. This gathering features Julian Randall: acclaimed poet, essayist, and young adult novelist. His debut nonfiction book, The Dead Don't Need Reminding: In Search of Fugitives, Mississippi, and Black TV Nerd Shit, weaves two personal narratives of recovery and reclamation, spliced with a dazzle of pop-culture. It’s a braided story of Julian’s return from the cliff edge of a harrowing depression and his determination to retrace the hustle of a white-passing grandfather to the Mississippi town from which he was driven amid threats of tar and feather. It’s a deeply personal exploration of grief, family, and the American way. 

Julian Randall is a Living Queer Black author from Chicago. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem, CantoMundo, Callaloo, and the Watering Hole. Julian is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and the winner of the 2019 Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award from the Publishing Triangle. 

His writing has been published in New York Times Magazine, Ploughshares, and POETRY, and anthologized in Black Boy Joy (which debuted at #1 on the NYT Best Seller list), Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed, and Furious Flower. Julian has essays in The Atlantic, Vibe Magazine, Los Angeles Review of Books and other venues. They hold an MFA in poetry from University of Mississippi. 

Julian is the author of five books across three genres. For adults Refuse (Pitt, 2018), winner of the 2017 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and a finalist for a 2019 NAACP Image Award and the forthcoming The Dead Don’t Need Reminding: In Search of Fugitives, Mississippi and Black TV Nerd Shit (Bold Type Books, May 2024). For younger readers: the Pilar Ramirez duology and the forthcoming middle grade novel The Chainbreakers (all from Holt Books for Young Readers).


Tony Pham (Butterfly) (he/they) is a heritage Buddhist, facilitator, and healer that occupies the intersection of queer and BIPOC identities. He also identifies as a 2nd generation Vietnamese American whose parents immigrated to the United States as refugees from war. Tony goes by Butterfly in spiritual spaces where they steward practices rooted in compassion, indigeneity, and sacred lineages. They are a student of Lama Rod Owens (Vajrayana/Tibetan Buddhism). They are also an alumnus of the East Bay Meditation Center’s year-long PiTA8 trauma informed mindfulness program for social justice work.

Butterfly offered a dharma talk and guided meditation about compassion during The Dalai Lama Global Vision Summit 2023. Butterfly has completed death doula training and facilitates various grief circles with Reimagine. Tony's death work was highlighted and referenced in the 2023 book, "So Sorry for Your Loss," by Dina Gachman. He is certified in Compassion Cultivation Training ©, teaching compassion and meditation at Tibet House US. Tony is honored to serve on the national board of directors of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). He now resides in Brooklyn (occupied Canarsie/Munsee Lenape land).


About Reimagine

Reimagine is a nonprofit organization catalyzing a uniquely powerful community–people of different backgrounds, ages, races, and faiths (and no faith) coming together in the hopes of healing ourselves and the world. We specifically support each other in facing adversity, loss, and mortality and – at our own pace – actively channeling life's biggest challenges into meaningful action and growth.


Ritual & Ceremony Writing & Literature Community Gathering Celebration & Remembrance
LGBTQ+ COVID-19 Grief Isolation & Connection Social Justice & Race