Summer is off to a great start for Twanna Hines (CC ‘17). In addition to recently hosting "The Power of the Arts to Create Social Change" with Oxfam and National Geographic earlier this month, in July she’s going to be on stage in Washington, D.C. with her one-woman play, “We're All Going To Fucking Die!” about overcoming anxiety, taking back our joy, and having the best sex ever. Twanna also led a session on digital strategy at The Opportunity Agenda’s Communications Institute this month.
Negin Farsad (CC ‘12) recently wrote a column in The Progressive Magazine: Hemming and Hawing: Workers Deserve Stable Schedules. She writes, “Service-sector employees are often scheduled on a week-to-week basis. That’s not sustainable for them, or for the companies paying them… Let’s make retail and service work more humane and more profitable.”
This month, Melinda Weekes Laidlow (CC XX) launched her creative social enterprise, Beautiful Ventures, which “influences popular culture, disrupts anti-blackness and elevates perceptions of Black humanity.” The project builds community, skill, power and wealth of Black story-driven creatives and their communities. She writes, “Friends, let's continue to put our big, bold, ideas into practice for the sake of our communities and our world. I am encouraged by and need your partnership in this work. You will certainly continue to have mine!”
Favianna Rodriguez (CC ‘12) partnered with Playboy to support the Trevor Project’s work to outlaw conversion therapy in every state in the United States. Her bunny ears showcase what Pride means and help support a great cause. On Instagram, Favianna writes, “Best believe I did give it a lot of thought and also got the collective feedback of my incredible community of social impact advisors at We Inspire Justice before saying 'yes'! I am so excited by the progressive direction of the magazine and the mission… The entire June issue [is] devoted to gender, masculinity, and sexuality. No matter who you love or how you identify, you should feel safe AND proud of who you are.” Favianna also exhibited her work in Telluride, CO as part of the Mountain Film documentary festival on environmental, cultural, climbing, political and social justice issues.
On June 22, Detention Watch Network partnered with “Tsuru for Solidarity” and other organizations to protest the 1,400 asylum-seeking children who are going to be imprisoned at Fort Sill, OK in July. The site once held over 700 people of Japanese ancestry (immigrants and citizens), Apache prisoners of war were imprisoned and stolen indigenous children were held. The organizers write, “Now, children seeking refuge at our southern border will be imprisoned at Fort Sill in July. The U.S. is creating concentration camps for children. This cannot continue. We must stop it. And we must act immediately.” Partners in action included several Japanese-American groups: Densho at Fort Sill, ACLU of Oklahoma, the Japanese American National Museum, The Minoru Yasui Legacy Project and The Manzanar Committee. Activists brought tsuru (paper cranes) that were used at previous protests.
On June 5 in Los Angeles, Alex Rivera (CC ‘16) and his co-director, Cristina Ibarra, hosted a fundraiser for Claudio Rojas, who was targeted by ICE for speaking out in their documentary, The Infiltrators. Right before the Sundance award-winning film premiered at the Miami Film Festival, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested and deported Rojas, an undocumented Argentine immigrant rights activist. “The Infiltrators,” tells the story of undocumented activists who went undercover to expose abuses at a Broward County immigration detention center. Rojas has lived in the U.S. for 19 years and is a father and grandfather of U.S. citizens. His attorney called the deportation a “travesty of justice,” telling the Miami Herald, “It’s clear that this is retaliation.” At the June 5 event, members of the cast and crew shared clips, stories from production, and updates on the case of Rojas. Proceeds from the event went directly to the Rojas family.