Responding to Hurricane Harvey and Threats to DACA

August 30, 2017

As the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey and its trail of floods become more astounding by the day, many within our Gulf Coast network of activists, artists, and organizers – who have lengthy experience with natural disasters and the inequitable impact they have on communities of color and those in poverty – are responding with immediate action, wisdom, and loyalty to those most marginalized by national relief efforts. Meanwhile, fears of President Trump rescinding DACA are being widely discussed with response and resistance efforts already underway. Our Creative Changers Elizabeth Grizzle Voorhees and Yosimar Reyes show us how DACAmented and undocumented Americans move forward with courage, beauty, and pride.

Another Gulf is Possible has launched A Just Harvey Recovery, a “frontline to frontline community response and mobilization” to Hurricane Harvey and its floods. Our 2017 and 2016 Creative Change Alumna, activist, creative strategist, and cultural organizer Jayeesha Dutta is one of the forces behind this relief effort. The #AJustHarveyRecovery webpage is a central source of information for community response and mobilization. The webpage includes a list of local organizations that are accepting relief donations, along with resources for those in the thick of the storm and those hoping to help. Join the effort.

A march featuring residents of the Gulf of Mexico advocating for human rights in the region
Photo courtesy of Jayeesha Dutta

Define American is launching a campaign this month called “Undocu-Joy.” The goal of the campaign, co-organized by 2017 Creative Change alumna Elizabeth Grizzle Voorhees, is to combat negative and victimizing media representation of the undocumented population by flooding the media with images and messages of #UndocuJoy. The campaign works to uplift nuanced portrayals of undocumented people through authentic joyful depictions of their lives. Watch the Undocu-Joy video, narrated by poet, activist, and Creative Changer Yosimar Reyes (CC ’12).

The MacArthur Foundation awarded Working Films, whose co-director Molly Murphy is a 2016 Creative Change alum, $900,000 to launch Docs in Action, a program that aims to: move films beyond curation to creation; scale up Working Films’ thematic issue campaigns; offer free impact campaign development to under-resourced and underrepresented filmmakers; and provide support for field building through trainings and workshops at documentary gatherings.

Charon Hribar (CC ’16) and the Poor People’s Campaign is working with other moral leaders and organizers in a 15-state Moral Revival mass meeting and public event tour to address the impacts of systemic racism, poverty, militarism, and ecological devastation. The event can be watched via livestream, and will take place in Detroit (Sept. 5), Birmingham, AL (Sept. 12), Los Angeles (Sept. 19), Chicago (Oct. 12), Binghamton, NY (Oct. 17), Boston (Oct. 19), El Paso, TX (Oct. 22), Seattle (Nov. 6), Jackson, MS (Nov. 13), and the District of Columbia (Dec. 4).  “We must shift the moral narrative in our nation,” said the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II. “At such a time as this, we need a Poor People’s Campaign for Moral Revival to help us become the nation we’ve not yet been.”

Social justice filmmakers Rachel and Robin Blotnick’s (CC ‘14) last film, “The Hand That Feeds” was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Business and Economic Documentary. Right now, Robin is editing and Rachel is co-producing with Sara Archambault a new feature documentary directed by Melissa Regan – “Nuns on the Bus: The Movie” about rebel Catholic nuns fighting to save democracy. The couple is also working on a new film called “Knock Down the House” about Brand New Congress, a national campaign to elect hundreds of candidates to a brand new Congress.

A flyer from the documentary film Nuns on the Bus about Catholic nuns fighting to save democracy
Photo courtesy of Nuns on the Bus: The Movie

JustLeadershipUSA is recruiting for its 2018 Leading with Conviction fellowship. Leading with Conviction is an advanced leadership training for formerly incarcerated, mid-senior level leaders with a specific and proven track record in advocacy and community organizing. Trainees are introduced to the people and practices closely linked to successful criminal justice advocacy efforts, enabling them to take on greater challenges and to generate quantifiable impact in their work. Applications are now open for the 2018 cohort. There is no cost to trainees, who can be fully employed during the year. Apply here by Sept. 15 or spread the word.

2017 Creative Change alumna Twanna Hines recently accepted a new position as the Communications Director for the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE). Meanwhile, she continues to engage with pop culture at AndAction, which was recently re-featured in an article by the Rockefeller Foundation. We wish her all the best of luck in her new position, and are excited that her work and love for pop culture will ripple over into CHANGE.