November 20, 2013 Immigration, Social Justice, and Multiculturalism Event
Here is what I said as Host of the Revolutionary Poets Brigade Event:
Good Evening and welcome on behalf of the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts and the Revolutionary Poets Brigade to this evening of exploration of Social Justice through the poetry and discussion about immigration and multiculturalism. I’m Nina Serrano and I will be hosting this intellectual and artistic 90 minute journey into Social Justice at the same time as similar events of the World Poetry Movement based in Colombia are taking place globally.
In San Francisco the Revolutionary Poets Brigade is producing 6 similar events at distinct dates, times and places in San Francisco, coordinated by prize wining poet, John Curl. Each event brings a distinct special focus involving over 40 poets, 8 speakers, 10 musicians and members of their respective audiences. These audiences are a vital part of the events when they interact in Question and Answer sessions with the speakers to forge an analysis and worldview that will inspire us forward in our ongoing struggle for justice. Tonight we‘ll hear from poets: Genny Lim, Adrian Arias, Leticia Hernandez and Dorothy Payne.
Our speaker leading the 15 minute Q&A session will be Arnoldo Garcia an expert on immigration as well conflict resolution among youth. The Andean musicians are Los Carpinteros
To clear our minds and bodies from the hassles of the day and to help us focus on the here and now and the theme of the evening, it is my pleasure to introduce our musicians who bring music of the Andes, Fernando Torres, Dennis Schmidt and guest singer Madeleine Zayas- Los Carpinteros “
Nina: Gracias Los Carpinteros. Our first poet is Leticia Hernandez, a poet whose words take off into song, weaving her Salvadoran heritage and her deeply centered role in the Mission Community as it struggles against evictions, gentrification, and corporate take over. Leticia Hernandez emerges a playwright with her recently performed scenes from her theatrical work in progress, here at the Mission Cultural Center.
Nina: Thank you Leticia Hernandez. Our next poet and activist is Genny Lim. She wrote the ground breaking play on immigration “Paper Angels,” finally breaking the silence on Chinese and Asian immigration: Genny has written books for children as well and contributed to many anthologies. She’s won several awards including the American Book Award Book for “Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, 1910–1940.”
Nina: Thank you Genny Lim. For the last ten years since his arrival from Peru, Adrian Arias has given the Centro it’s unique and outstanding visual presence as the director of the multi media dept. He creates beautiful posters, flyers, videos, brochures and magazines. His notable altars and installations often appear on Dia de los Muertos. Adrian Arais has produced cutting edge cultural productions here like “Illusions”, an improvised multi arts happening, the “Luna Negra” women’s poetry music & dance series, “Videofest”, an international festival and screening and several art exhibits in the MCCLA Gallery.
Nina: Thank you Adrian Arias. The last poet this evening is Dorothy Payne an activist poet, international educator, and painter. She most recently returned from teaching Venezuela. Dorothy Payne is a leading participant in the Revolutionary Poet’s Brigade and appears in many poetry anthologies. She hosts and produces regular multicultural events at Art Internacionale in North Beach.
Nina: Thank you Dorothy Payne and all the poets who have shared their work tonight. We now switch modes from the similes, metaphores, rythyms and melodies of poetry to Tell-It –Like-It-Is, prose: the plain talk from Arnoldo Garcia who is our featured speaker and leader of the Q& A.
Arnoldo Garcia is a multi-disciplinary artist, photographer, poet, and community organizer in Oakland’s Fruitvale Barrio from a migratory Mexican farm worker family. Presently he works as a counselor for conflict resolution with adolescents to mitigate youth violence. He was the former director of the Nat’l Organization of Refugee and Human Rights and has for years been the go-to person for the latest information on Immigration. Arnoldo Garcia has given this subject deep thought which he will share with us tonight. In ten minutes he will run us through history and analysis. Arnoldo Garcia: 10 minutes.
Q & A 10 mins
Nina: On behalf of the MCC and the RPB, I thank you all for your presence, attention, and comments. As we have all noted, there is much work to be done to achieve social justice. The next RPB Social justice event is Friday, Nov 22 at the Universalist Unitarian Church on Franklin street at 7pm focusing on “Racial Profiling and Police Brutality and Prisons.” The culminating event, “Social Justice How do we get there?” is Sonday, November 24th at the main library in the Koret theater from 1-3pm. Free of charge. Please come and invite your friends and family.
Let’s continue to struggle for social Justice so Mother Earth can regain her balance and flourish. Good night.