Third Annual Forward Union Fair
Where: Red Bull Arts New York
220 W. 18th St.
212-966-5200 Price: Free
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Forward Union and Red Bull Arts New York are pleased to announce the third Forward Union Fair, an annual two-day social action fair that serves as a coalition-building initiative, connecting social justice organizations with artists and creative communities. Participants in this year’s fair will unite in their dedication to informed civic engagement and voter participation, and will additionally explore such themes as immigration, gun control, and healthcare through art installations and public programs.
Spread across both floors of Red Bull Arts New York’s dynamic space, the art installations featured at Forward Union Fair will elucidate and provoke dialogue around timely social and political issues.
Session One: Voter Education & Civic Engagement
CIVICS 101: Upcoming Elections and Their Impact
Ben Yee, State Committeeman for New York’s 66th Assembly District, will take us through the organization and impact of NY politics.
The primer will include who’s up for election this year; what all those people do and how they impact our lives (including the IDC); how voting works, why we do it, and why it is so hard in New York State; and why the census, redistricting, and gerrymandering are so important to discuss. He’ll end on the races we should be aware of beyond the midterm elections this November.
Amy Khoshbin: You Never Know
You Never Know is a political speech turned cathartic rap dance-party by Iranian-American artist Amy Khoshbin, who is running for City Council in Brooklyn in 2021.
Exploring the culture of violence and fear-mongering that Western media perpetuates, Khoshbin shares her experiences at a gun show, asks what the opposite of a weapon could be, and encourages a group catharsis through video, dance, and rap music. Can political empowerment for change and liberating entertainment be the same thing?
NY Politics: Power, Logistics, and Civic Responsibility
Using Ben Yee’s civics primer as a starting point, Amanda Clarke (Regional Director, Run For Something) facilitates a discussion on New York politics and civic engagement.
Participants will discuss: Why are the upcoming midterm elections so important? What trends and disruptions do they see in NY races? What does it mean to run a campaign? Is running for office the only way to influence policy changes? What is needed from those of us outside politics who deeply care about state and local policies? Is there hope?
We Make America: Making Sessions
Providing hands-on art making opportunities for fair visitors gives people of all ages a chance to make something personal and meaningful—and inspire voting and political engagement.
Spearheaded by the artist, activist group We Make America, visitors can personalize wearables, including fabric Statue of Liberty torches, cast- resin torch pins, leather pendants, and buttons made with your design.
In addition, attendees can decorate cardboard “VOTE” signs to hang in windows and on doors as well as vote postcards.
No advance signup required. Join us!
2:00PM – 5:00PM
Aram Han Sifuentes: Protest Banner Lending Library Workshop
Advance sign-up required. Sign-ups opening soon!
Join artist Aram Han Sifuentes for this hands-on communal sewing workshop, learn the basic skills necessary to make protest banners on your own, and come together to support each other’s voices. Sifuentes explains, “Banners are a way for me to resist what is happening in the United States and in the world. It is a way to put my voice out there and not stay silent. I cannot be silent. However, as a non citizen and a new mother, I cannot always go to protests. And in these workshops I realized that there were many people who came because they needed to find a way to participate, resist, and speak up but also couldn’t always go to protests because they too were mothers, non citizens, undocumented- those who would be at great risk if caught up and arrested. My protest banner making workshops has become a place where people come together in solidarity through making. And making is, in and of itself, a form of resistance.”
No prior sewing skills necessary and all supplies will be provided. Please note that participants should plan to attend the workshop for the full 3 hours.
Session Two: Resisting ICE and Advocating for Immigrant Rights
Short Film Screening: We Have Rights
What do we do when confronted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)? What do we do when ICE is in our neighborhoods, in our streets, in our homes, in the courtroom? What can we do to resist and prevent deportation?
We Have Rights is a series of short videos, based on true stories, that visualizes actions to take and language to use when confronted by ICE agents. The series was created in partnership with ACLU and Brooklyn Defender Services.
Telling the Strongest Story: Effective Impact through Creative Collaboration
Join the collaborators of the film series, We Have Rights, as they discuss the idea that launched the series, the filmmaking process and the effective implementation of the films for education, awareness, and policy change.
- Scott Hechinger (Senior Staff Attorney and Director of Policy, Brooklyn Defender Services)
- Michael Kleiman (documentary filmmaker of We Have Rights, Founder & Executive Director, Media Tank Productions)
- Ravi Ragbir (Executive Director, New Sanctuary Coalition)
- Sara Gonzalez (New Sanctuary Coalition)
Training: Immigration Accompaniment with The New Sanctuary Coalition
The New Sanctuary Coalition (NSC) accompaniment program recruits and trains volunteers to accompany people facing deportation to their immigration hearings and ICE check-ins. This provides moral support to the person facing deportation and enables volunteers to hold immigration authorities accountable. Standing in solidarity with migrants facing deportation also demonstrates to immigration judges, ICE officers, and government attorneys that there is a community mobilized against their deportation. NSC accompanies hundreds of people a year.
Generator Collective Storytelling Hour
Generator Collective will lead a storytelling session in which participants are invited to share stories of how they have been positively and negatively impacted by political policy. The aim is to humanize policy through storytelling and to help organize the noise of these policies into digestible, human stories that make politics more accessible and relatable.
Hosted by Ruby Anaya
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