A true shift in consciousness can only come when people begin to see the world not as it is, but as it should be. While advocates can provide powerful arguments and compelling data, it is artists and media makers who create a window into the possible.

To truly move hearts and minds, artists, advocates, and media makers must collaborate deeply, developing a shared vision and a coordinated set of strategies for achieving it.

It was with this in mind that The Opportunity Agenda launched our Arts + Culture Initiative. The hope is to create a space for collaboration, strengthening the work of advocates and allowing artists and media makers to make an impact on the issues that matter to them. Designed to move the social justice movement towards greater innovation, the Initiative serves as a catalyst for inspiration and action, incubating new ideas, relationships, and opportunities to move beyond traditional modes of organizing and activating constituencies.

Our next event is entitled Immigration: Arts, Culture & Media 2010; A Timely Conversation with Artists and Advocates. Taking place Wednesday, April 14, the forum will explore the power of arts, culture, and media activities in promoting the dignity and human rights of immigrants in the United States.

The event will feature conversations with:

  • Chung-Wha Hong, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition;
  • David Henry Hwang, Playwright of M. Butterfly and Yellow Face;
  • Alan Jenkins, Executive Director of The Opportunity Agenda;
  • Mira Nair, Director of The Namesake and Monsoon Wedding;
  • Martín Perna, Founder of Antibalas and Ocote Should Sounds;
  • Favianna Rodriguez, Printmaker and New Media Artist;
  • Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice;
  • and the art of Kip Fulbeck.

The discussion will be moderated by Maria Hinojosa, Emmy Award-winning PBS anchor and the host of NPR’s Latino USA. A reception will follow, featuring DJ Martín Perna.

The forum comes on the heels of a historic March 21 rally in Washington, D.C. by pro-immigrant activists, and with comprehensive immigration reform currently on the national legislative agenda. The event will feature a conversation between artists and activists about the role of artists in society, particularly the ways in which creative work can serve to open up hearts and minds and break down prejudice. Panelists will be asked to reflect on how their personal immigration stories influence their own work, as advocates and as artists, and how immigration stories are being reflected in the arts in general. They also will share their views on the current state of the immigration policy debate.

The event is currently full but we do have a waitlist and expect room to open up. For more, visit creativechange.eventbrite.com.

Even if you are not able to attend this event, you can participate on Twitter. Use and watch the hashtag #ImmArts.

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