April has been a busy month for our Creative Changers and Communications Institute Fellows, from drawing attention to Second Chance Month by rethinking the act of suspending students to honoring Earth Day by celebrating the protection of water, land, and the “collective future.” Our network of artists, activists, and advocates are pushing back against harmful narratives, sparking community dialogue, and inviting us to join them in taking action.
Communications Institute Fellow and Creative Changer, Cristina Jiménez (CI ’12, CC ’16), co-founder of United We Dream, has been named one of the TIME 100 Most Influential People. “I hope that this honor and the stories of brave immigrant youth encourage Americans from across the country to reject and fight against racist immigration policies that hurt our communities,” Cristina said. Her current focus is pushing for a clean Dream Act.
On April 25, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments for and against Trump’s third attempt at a Muslim ban. Check out an op-ed in The Hill by our Communications Institute Fellow and National Campaign Coordinator of the Campaign to TAKE ON HATE, Bassem Kawar (CI ’17). Bassem reflects on Arab-American mobilization and activism in response to the ban. He declares, “No matter how the Supreme Court rules on the Muslim travel ban, we know the Arab-American community will be there, present, in protest, making its voice heard and strengthening U.S. democracy.”
Communications Institute Fellow and Executive Director of Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC), Gina Womack (CI ’15), highlights the effects of school suspensions in learning and crime in her letter to the editor in The Advocate. Gina urges legislators to pass Senate Bill 465, which proposes alternative discipline policies in Louisiana schools. “This means less suspension, less expulsion, less prisons and more education for our kids,” she wrote.
New York state director of the Drug Policy Alliance, Kassandra Frederique (CI ’15), weighs in on New York City’s slowness to embrace supervised injection facilities in Politico. Kassandra says the reason for the delay is politics, not public health.
Kwel’ Hoy: Many Struggles, One Front is an exhibition at The Watershed Center in New Jersey that celebrates the protection of water, land, and the collective future. Creative Changer, Beka Economopoulos (CC ’12, ’16) and the Natural History Museum, encourage people to attend the exhibit and discussion panels at Princeton Art Museum on May 1 and May 3. The exhibit runs until September.
Earlier this month, Gina Belafonte (CC ’16), co-director of Sankofa, spoke in Memphis on the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination and participated in the event, An Evening of Storytelling, sharing her experience as an art activist. Sankofa also helped host a screening of Survivor’s Guide to Prison, a documentary hosted by rapper Busta Rhymes, who is a narrator in the film. The film examines the criminal justice system and follows the stories of two men who were wrongfully incarcerated. Watch on Amazon and iTunes.
Kymberlie Quong Charles (CC ’16) at Youth Rise Texas announced that tomorrow (April 27) is the last day to submit visual artwork to Youth Rise Texas’ Innovators & Artists Showcase. Artists with work relevant to social movements that impact marginalized people and communities, are encouraged to apply here.
Ishita Srivastava (CC ’16) and Janet Kim (CC ’16) contributed to a new film series, CareForce One Travelogues, which explores how care intersects with issues such as immigration and racial discrimination. The series will be available on Indie Lens Storycast starting May 1.
Dante Barry, 2016 Communications Institute Fellow and co-director of Million Hoodies, highlights the connection between police violence and gun violence in this new video. Million Hoodies also released a trailer for their new documentary about anti-black violence on college campuses, Sincerely, The Black Kids.
Creative Changers, Molly Murphy (CC ’16) and Jayeesha Dutta (CC ’16 and ’17) of Working Films, helped launch a new initiative on climate change stories called StoryShift. This collaborative initiative brings artists, journalists, and storytellers together to support and amplify their stories. Sign the set of principles and praxis for this initiative to support accountable storytelling.