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Michael Young Remembered

This was sent out with Michael Young’s memorial announcement this past week. This is the Michael we worked with an his words are worth highlighting:

“We are stronger together than going it alone. The pure nature of us, as social justice organizers, activists, researchers, policy advocates and progressive champions, is to debate, collaborate and innovate towards a system that is built towards justice and rooted in fairness.… We do ourselves a disservice to try to do our work alone in our organizations, in the tight circles we have formed.… We have to break our silos and create long lasting and interconnected coalitions.… In these times of such turmoil, disruption and distrust, we are presented with many opportunities to spark new fires, to be bold in our ideas, and to build strength in the collective struggle.… Our path forward will be rocky, but if we are together in spirit, heart, and strategy, we will come out stronger on the other side.”

–Michael Young in UFE’s 2017 State of the Dream Report

OPEN CALL: Artistic Activism Master Class

People holding the hands of others, raising them in the air

All successful activism has included arts and culture. But training and opportunities for these fields to mix can be difficult to find. The Center for Artistic Activism and Voqal are pleased to announce a special opportunity: an open call for our Artistic Activism Master Class.

This the first time in the Center for Artistic Activism’s 11 year history we’ve been able to offer an open call for artists and activists across the United States to join a training like this one.

We are looking for experienced artists, designers, and creative folks excited about collaboration.

The applicants for this program will be joining staff from advocacy organizations that Voqal supports across the United States. It can be magical when advocates and artists work together to find new, innovative ways to make change, so we’re inviting 5 artists (note: we define “artist” very broadly!) to take part, in the Master Class with a full scholarship.

The artists we plan to bring into the master class should be:

  • generous
  • have some previous experience
  • open to new perspectives and methods
  • excited about exchanging expertise and insight with experienced, full-time activists working on a variety of issues

The master class will take part through online sessions and online forums throughout the month of March, with introductory meetings in February. We’re looking for creative people, open to collaboration, and excited to work and learn alongside career activists working on active campaigns. You can get a sense of what Voqal supports here. Participants should bring some experience from the arts and/or activism and be eager to learn more.

To find out more about the master class and qualify to apply, please register to attend this upcoming introductory session:

Beyond Raising Awareness: An Introduction to Creative Activism. 
Monday, Feb 22nd 12pm-2pm

Register for the zoom session

This online workshop, led by the directors of the Center for Artistic Activism, gives participants tools to successfully strategize using creativity, spectacle, surprise and vision. “Raising awareness” won’t cut it – we need to get real about how we succeed and fail at moving people to act. Drawing on over ten years of experience working with change-makers around the world, the Center for Artistic Activism will share surprising stories of people fighting for and winning equality and access using culture and creativity. These success stories will serve as jumping-off points for in-depth discussion and attendees will leave with tools to apply to all kinds of advocacy. Creativity can keep your efforts to make change active, motivated and energized. After the workshop, you can follow up with questions with the trainers and access the Center for Artistic Activism’s online resources for further information and training.


Innovation + Impact Master Class

March 2021 (dates TBD)

Attendees of the Introductory Session are invited to apply to continue with the Master Class. The complete course gives participants the skills and understanding to work alongside organizations to develop and execute creative campaigns.  The workshop will take place over four roughly two hour sessions (with a 20 minute break) over a three – four week period in March. The Center for Artistic Activism team and fellow participants will help to refine objectives and develop creative tactics for current or future campaigns.  Graduates can join the Center for Artistic Activism’s online forum where people from all over the world share projects, ideas and inspiration.

Applications for the Master Class will open after the Introductory Seminar.

Please contact us if you need more information or have any questions.

13: SUPERSTORES – Bass Pro Shops

The Lost Episode! We recorded this episode over 2 years ago and dug it out of the vaults for you! We left off at episode 12 – The Chevy Suburban.

Superstores, supercenters, megastores! These aren’t big boxes, they are GIANT boxes and inside are not only swaths products, but on-brand restaurants or services like opticians and hairdressers. Yes, we could have gone to Bed Bath & Beyond, explored the cafe at the top floor of a Nordstrom’s, or even wandered around a Walmart. But you know how we do, we chose Bass Pro Shops! Listen as Pat, Steve, and Steve go through the lifecycle of a retail outing, from excited to disenchanted. Steve and Pat get kinda uncomfortable, but that’s the point!

Bass Pro Shops is a hunting, fishing, camping, and outdoor clothing and recreation chain started in Springfield Missouri but, while they started in the south, they have stores across the country. They own the brand Cabela’s and have over 175 stores bringing in $8 billion in revenue in 2018. Bass Pro Shops sponsor NASCAR drivers and host the NRA’s National Sporting Arms Museum in their flagship Springfield store.

Their Bass Pro Shops “Outdoor World” stores include restaurants, aquariums, open ponds with live fish and boats, taxidermy, bowling alleys, as well as shooting and archery ranges and classes on outdoor skills.

Sound Note: This show was recorded in a superstore and moving car – and given that it still sounds good! Thanks to Jimmy Bigbee Garver who recorded, edited, and mixed this episode.

Links:

Photos

Steve, Steve, and Pat, hiding among the camoflauge
Outside the store, showing off our purchases
Pat, reconsidering owning a vehicle in New York City

Thank you

We want to thank our sponsor who made this episode of the Pop Culture Salvage Expeditions possible, Bass Pr– just kidding! That’s never gonna happen. This show is paid for by donations to the Center for Artistic Activism, a 501.3c non-profit organization.

If you like our work – donate! (It’s a tax-deductible and a little bit goes a long way)

DONATE!

Info Session: Free the Vaccine for COVID-19

Considering applying with Free the Vaccine for COVID-19, our artistic activism training and action campaign? Let us share what we’ve been up to and how it works.

On Wednesday, 1/27, we hosted an info session about Free the Vaccine! We talked about the current state of the pandemic, the way we’ve been tackling it, and how you can join our next round of COVID-19 creative activism training and action.

More about Free the Vaccine

Free the Vaccine for COVID-19 is a global movement working to ensure that COVID-19 testing, treatments, and vaccines are safe, effective, and available to all for free.

Free the Vaccine works as an Advocacy Innovation Lab, bringing together hundreds of people from around the world to collaboratively devise, design, implement, and evaluate new forms of advocacy that can succeed in these challenging times.

Our next round runs February 17 – May 12. Over those 12 weeks, participants will join weekly full campaign meetings, meet with smaller focus groups, and implement creative actions. No prior experience is necessary. As a participant you’ll learn about access to medicines, creative activism, and do both: learning and then taking action is what this is all about! 

Apply here by Sunday, February 7, at 11:59pm.

Those who participate fully in all 12 weeks are eligible to receive a certificate from Center for Artistic Activism documenting their participation.

Free the Vaccine launched in March 2020 and has had two previous seasons. Each season is different. This time we’re focusing on pressuring universities and publicly funded institutions to share their intellectual monopolies with the world in order to save lives from COVID-19. We’re also turning our focus to helping the public understand more about access to medicines and why it’s important–not only for getting through this pandemic but also for lasting, sustainable change. Join our growing community and campaign to Free the Vaccine for COVID-19!

APPLY: Artistic Activism Training for Equity + COVID-19

Our COVID-19 healthcare for all campaign is about to launch its next round of artistic activism training and action. Join us!

As we hit over 100 million worldwide COVID-19 cases, we all want to see an end to the pandemic. At the same time the price of these medicines and terms pharmaceutical corporations have set are perpetuating global inequities. But you have the power to give people access to COVID medicine. Join our next round of Free the Vaccine for COVID-19 and learn how you, together with others from around the world, can use creativity and culture to make policy changes that will save lives.

Free the Vaccine for COVID-19 is a global movement working to ensure that COVID-19 testing, treatments, and vaccines are safe, effective, and available to all for free at the point of delivery.

New and returning participants are encouraged to apply here!

This program works as an Advocacy Innovation Lab, bringing together hundreds of people from around the world to collaboratively devise, design, implement, and evaluate new forms of advocacy that can succeed in these challenging times.

Our next round runs February 17 – May 12. Over those 12 weeks, participants will join weekly full campaign meetings, meet with smaller focus groups, and implement creative actions. No prior experience is necessary. As a participant you’ll learn about access to medicines, creative activism, and do both: learning and then taking action is what this is all about! 

Apply here by Sunday, February 7, at 11:59pm.

Those who participate fully in all 12 weeks are eligible to receive a certificate from Center for Artistic Activism documenting their participation.

Free the Vaccine launched in March 2020 and has had two previous seasons. Each season is different. This time we’re focusing on pressuring universities and publicly funded institutions to share their intellectual monopolies with the world in order to save lives from COVID-19. We’re also turning our focus to helping the public understand more about access to medicines and why it’s important–not only for getting through this pandemic but also for lasting, sustainable change. Join our growing community and campaign to Free the Vaccine for COVID-19!

“First Female President” says farewell

Margaret McCarthy, "the First Female President of the United States"

PRESIDENT MCCARTHY BIDS A GRATEFUL FAREWELL TO THE NATION, MOVES FORWARD WITH A PEACEFUL TRANSITION OF POWER

San Francisco, CA — President Margaret McCarthy bid farewell to a grateful nation today in a final address from the Oval Office, and promised a peaceful transition of power to President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris. President McCarthy is the 45th President of the United States, following the two terms of President Barack Obama.

In a public address viewable on YouTube, President McCarthy urged Americans to look back with pride on their collective accomplishments, noting the abolishment of I.C.E. and the establishment of the U.S. as a borderless nation, in keeping with her administration’s 100% Open Immigration policy, first announced two years ago at a press conference at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. This policy followed closely on the heels of the nationwide airport welcoming committees that spring up organically at airline terminals across the U.S. to give flowers and messages of welcome to those arriving to the United States. She also cited the country’s leadership in fighting climate change and the incredible progress made in reducing emissions. The President further pointed to domestic accomplishments, supported in part by urgent action from the U.S. Congress’ Committee on Appropriations for Awesome, particularly the historically high taxes on wealthy citizens, which supported the rollout of universal health care as well as free childcare, pre-K, and paid parental leave, in addition to enacting 100% forgiveness of student loan debt, and supporting public colleges and universities in making tuition free. President McCarthy is well known for her outreach to students, speaking at the gallery opening of Copy Culture at the University of San Francisco in 2017 and addressing a performance art class at Lake Forest College later that year. In her farewell address, she drew particular attention to the Constitutional amendment passed during her administration’s historic overhaul of our country’s governing document, enshrining the inalienable right to vote for all U.S. citizens. Voting rights have been an issue of particular import to President McCarthy, as highlighted during her 2018 residency in the Artists Television Access window gallery and in her speech at 100 Days Action’s Blue Wave / Red Tide event at California College for the Arts during that same midterm election.

However, as is to be expected from a President who spoke openly about failure in a public conversation with the Center for Artistic Activism, she also noted the struggles the country had faced, as well as the challenges that still lie ahead. While the nation has made steps to defund the police and dismantle the carceral system in the wake of the murder of George Floyd aand other Black Americans, the President mourned these losses as “our family members, our friends, our teachers, our elders and our neighbors,” and noted, “I leave office knowing there is still a great deal of work ahead.” President McCarthy also mourned the over 400,000 Americans who have lost their lives during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “We will never recover from these losses,” she stated, “but we can honor their memory with our actions.” 

At President McCarthy’s inauguration at San Francisco City Hall four years ago, she addressed dozens of supporters from behind a podium borrowed from a local bookstore, using a sound system delivered by bicycle – a fitting forecast to the spirited, community-based politics she attempted to further and for which the Bay Area is justifiably famous. At the conclusion of the event, the President shook hands with all attendees, petted a small dog and kissed a baby. In celebration of her victory, women marched on Washington and across the world in unprecedented numbers. President McCarthy credits the subsequent wave of progressive action and energy for her administration’s ability to enact such a progressive agenda.

In conclusion, President McCarthy gave her best wishes to the new administration, and exhorted her fellow Americans not to let up their activism, saying, “As President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris assume office, they are going to need your continued action, your continued attention, your continued organizing, both to hold them accountable, and to ensure that the flower of our Democracy is able to bloom as never before. After all,” she continued, “while it has been an honor to serve as the First Female President, my Presidency has never been about me; it’s always been about our collective dream of a United States that is different and better. We still have a ways to go on that brave journey. But I know that together, we can create a better, brighter United States of America.”

For more information, visit firstfemalepotus.us 

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Call for Project Managers

The Center for Artistic Activism is looking for paid intern Project Managers for its Free the Vaccine campaign!

Season 3 of our COVID healthcare campaign, Free the Vaccine, will be starting in just a few weeks! Participant applications will be out soon.

But right now, we’re hiring Free the Vaccine Project Managers.

Project Managers will support participants in achieving the objectives of the campaign; assist in training participants in Creative Activism and Access to Medicines; and champion our diverse, vibrant community.

Apply here by Friday, January 22, at 11:59pm.

Free the Vaccine for COVID-19 is a global movement working to ensure that COVID-19 testing, treatments, and vaccines are safe, effective, and available to all for free. The movement works as an Advocacy Innovation Lab, bringing together hundreds of people from around the world to collaboratively devise, design, implement, and evaluate new forms of advocacy that can succeed in these challenging times.

Since March 2020, we have run two seasons of the campaign. We are preparing to launch our third season in February and we will be implementing several exciting changes, including: broadening our targets to include government entities and popular education in addition to universities, grouping participants by interest rather than geographic region, and increasing collaboration across groups.

Project Managers will be critical to building our Season 3 FTV community, running the campaign, and achieving our goals of COVID-19 healthcare for all.

Questions? Email [email protected].

EVENT: The Power of Pie

Celebrate Martin Luther King Day with Peace Through Pie & Stir The Pot.

Learn about the Civil Rights history of pie, participate in interactive pie demos & be inspired by the words of MLK to activate your own action!

Join Chef Nadine Nelson of Global Local Gourmet hosting:

Tanya Fields
Executive Director of the Black Feminist Project

Nancie McDermott
Author of Southern Pies and 9 other cookbooks

STIR THE POT – Stir the Pot brings people together to cook, cultivate community, and inspire activism through the act of preparing food. Stir the Pot is supported by the Center for Artistic Activism’s Unstoppable Voters project.

PEACE THROUGH PIE – A Grassroots Peace Movement Creating a Culture of Peace through convening around pie.

MONDAY, JANUARY 18

3:00 – 5:00 PM on ZOOM

Be part of the movement.

RSVP at stirthepot.online/events/mlk-day-event. Come share pie together as we co-create the new frontier of peace, one piece of pie at a time, and inspire activism through the life of MLK & invited speakers.

Nancie’s Pie Recipe

Facebook event – if you’re into that.

Rest in Peace Michael Young

Michael Young

This week we learned that United for a Fair Economy organizer and Center for Artistic Activism alumni and collaborator, Michael Young passed away.

Michael worked with the Center for Artistic Activism on several proposals to organize for economic and racial justice in the southern United States. He was absolutely committed to equity and justice and held all of us to high standards of effectiveness. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family. He will be missed by those who worked with him, and we all suffer the loss of a dedicated organizer.

Friends,

It is with deep sadness that we share that United for a Fair Economy has lost our dear friend and colleague, Michael Young, who passed away January 9, 2021 after a battle with cancer. He was 46 years old.

Michael has been part of the UFE team since 2012, when he began organizing UFE’s state-level Tax Fairness Organizing Collaborative. In 2015, Michael moved with his wife Jennifer and two children from Boston back to his home state of North Carolina, where he has led UFE’s Inclusive Economies Project. A passionate and tireless organizer, his work in NC has focused on building the Raising Wages NC coalition to push for a statewide $15 minimum wage, and building a national network of living wage certification programs.

Words cannot express how much we will miss Michael’s vision, passion, wisdom, humor, camaraderie, and love of organizing. Our team is slowing down to grieve this loss and celebrate Michael’s impact and legacy. Join us in honoring Michael’s life and sending love and support to his family. We will share more about Michael in the days and weeks ahead.

Alumni “Valu” Obiajulu on BBC World

Ozegbe Sunday "Valu" Obiajulu on the BBC

Everyone deserves a safe and healthy place to call home. In Lagos, Nigeria corruption brings crime to every level of a society and causes infrastructure to languish. Dance can be attention grabbing, visceral, and powerful way to communicate ideas and emotions when political and legislative avenues are fruitless. This is why BBC World talked to Center for Artistic Activism alumni, Ozegbe Sunday “Valu” Obiajulu about his public, political, dance performances. Watch:

“How do you bring government’s attention to the glight of your community? For Ozegbe Sunday Obiajulu, the answer is through dance. He lives in Oworonshoki one of the most deprived communities in Nigeria’s biggest city, Lagos. The area is known for high levels of crime and a chronic lack of infrastructure.

Oiajulu hopes is street performances can bring about change. Here’s his story…”

BBC World