During a discussion at the University of Missouri for a Martin Luther King Jr. event, acclaimed Dominican-American author Junot Díaz spoke about white supremacy, the dialogue around immigration, the importance of solidarity, and the long-lasting effects of slavery on the African Diaspora.

“I was born in the Dominican Republic,” he said. “My work, among many of the things that it wrestles with, wrestles with the kind of, the often invisible and vigorously disavowed, long shadow of enslavement. I’m very much interested in how people like me, who are part of the African Diasporic community, and how do we deal with the consequences of the fallout from the calamity that we call slavery. And most specifically, I’m kind of interested in how do bodies like mine that were raped into existence – our community doesn’t look the way it looks without systematic rape – and so how do communities like ours, with this long history of sexual violence and sexual predation, how do we as a consequence of that wrestle with the possibility of intimacy. In other words, where does love reside in bodies that spent centuries being told that they could not partake in love?”

To listen to more of his discussion, head over to KBIA.