Creating the Future We Want to Live In

May 30, 2019

Our partners are building the foundation for a more just future. 

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In early May, The Opportunity Agenda held the first of several regional Narrative Strategy discussions. At this first convening, which was held in Detroit, we brought together 30 diverse leaders from across Michigan and the Great Lakes region to discuss narrative priorities, challenges, and opportunities, and to chart the road ahead. Participants included leaders from the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency, the Detroit Equity Access Lab, Safe and Just Michigan, the ACLU of Michigan, Render, Office of Youth Prevention – Minneapolis, and JustLeadershipUSA, among others. Leading voices included formerly-incarcerated leaders, gun-violence survivors, and others with lived experience on these issues. We plan to host convenings later this year in California and the Gulf Coast, on the road to a nation-wide Narrative Change strategy.

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Charon Hribar (CC ‘16, CI ‘17) of the Kairos Center invites you to visit the gallery show and exhibition, Everybody’s Got a Right to Live: The Poor People’s Campaign 1968 - Now happening now in Brooklyn, NY at the Interference Archive. The exhibition looks at some of the visual art of the original Poor Peoples’ Campaign, including photographs and press coverage of marches and rallies. There’s also a public response to the “hunger wall” mural. The show concludes on June 23rd.

John-Michael Torres’ (CI ‘17) organization, La Unión del Pueblo Entero (LUPE), is one of three Texas border organizations chosen to receive the 2019 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, a prestigious recognition given to “heroes living out Robert F. Kennedy’s dream of a better and more just world.” In a statement, LUPE executive director Juanita Valdez-Cox said, “The prestigious RFK Human Rights Award means that more people will learn about the work of LUPE members to create a border region where families can remain together and all can thrive.” LUPE shares the 2019 award with Angry Tías & Abuelas of RGV and Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee of El Paso.

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Earlier this month, Lori Hanau (CC ‘11) co-hosted The Love Economy: Love Fest NYC, Story Slam Style.  The event brought together entrepreneurs, artists, community changemakers, and “anyone ready for a new economic model to inspire and empower the co-creation of a transformed economy based on equity, abundance, and love.” The event serves as “an invitation to practice love for ourselves, one another, and our workplaces.” This was their sixth official Love Economy gathering of the year.

In April, Sue Obeidi (CC ‘ 17) and her colleagues at Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)’s Hollywood Bureau celebrated the organization’s 28th annual media awards, an event that recognizes actors, writers, producers, and directors speaking truth to power and presenting authentic portrayals of Muslims on screen. Earlier this month, MPAC’s board member, Omar Ricci, testified to the Congress Oversight Committee on the impact of white supremacy on Muslim communities.

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Phillip Agnew (CI ‘14) partnered with artist Ernesto Yerena to create a 2020 Vision Booth at Form Festival in Arcosanti, Arizona to help participants “stay both grounded and imaginative as we approach the most important presidential election of this century. This should be about WHAT we want, before it is WHO.” Participants recorded themselves answering the question, “What's your 2020 vision?”

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Johanna Blakley (CC ‘12 and ‘17) of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center collaborated with Heidi Boisvert (CC ‘16) of futurePerfect Lab to produce their study, Are You What You What You Watch?  Tracking the Political Divide Through TV Preferences. It was made possible with support from the Pop Culture Collaborative. The study tracks entertainment preferences across ideological divides and provides not only a breakdown of what people watch, but also what appeals to them. They draw some extremely interesting insights about what content works for which audiences and why, and they break down what the findings mean for social justice activists who are trying to shift attitudes.

Anu Yadav (CC ‘17) is the new Creative Strategist Artist-in-Residence with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, in partnership with the Arts Commission. The post is a year-long part time position within the department’s cultural initiative to embed artists as part of local civic institutions. "We are setting precedents helping shape how artists can be woven more deeply into the fabric of how cities function," says Yadav.