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January 2012
Greetings from the Arts & Democracy Project!   


On Tuesday 1/24/12, the Arts & Democracy Project hosted a conference call on Arts, Culture, Media and Environmental Justice Organizing. The call focused on how people across the country are bringing the power of arts and culture to bear on the environmental devastation that is disproportionately affecting poor communities and communities of color. It also highlighted the ways we are transforming our relationship to land, nature and the environment based on principles of equity, justice and sustainability.  


In this e-newsletter, you will find the conference call recording as well as other resources related to arts, culture, media and environmental justice organizing. 



my louisiana loveMy Louisiana Love traces a woman's quest to find a place in her Native American community as it reels from decades of environmental degradation. Monique Verdin returns to Southeast Louisiana to reunite with her Houma Indian family.  But soon she sees that her people's traditional way of life: fishing, trapping, and hunting in these fragile wetlands, is threatened by a cycle of man-made environmental crises.


Cry You One/Mondo Bizarro

Louisiana is vanishing. It is breaking apart into the sea. Every half hour we lose nearly a football field's worth of coast to the Gulf of Mexico - more than twenty-four square miles a year. Cry You One is a celebration of the stories and cultural traditions housed in that rapidly eroding land. Like a New Orleans jazz funeral, it is generative because "when we hold a funeral here, we celebrate. We cook and play music; we parade the body through the streets, sharing stories from the life of the departed, only then can we release. Cry You One does that for the land."  


life is living

LIFE Is LIVING is a festival and mobilizing campaign that uses art to foster environmental justice. The campaign includes a traveling environmental caucus & concert, an invitational Graffiti Battle, live action sports, sustainable materials and construction projects, and a Speak Green youth poetry event. "As we reflect the voices of an emerging cultural majority, we recognize that our arts practices must echo and sustain the lives of the communities we engage."  


The True Cost of Coal/Beehive Collective

beehivecoalIn 2008, the Beehive Design Collective allied with Appalachian grassroots organizers fighting mountain top removal coal mining, a practice which blasts mountains into moonscapes to fuel the ever-growing global demand for electricity. Their team of volunteer artists and educators put countless hours into designing the visually stunning graphic tool, The True Cost of Coal.   


The Environmental Health Clinic is a clinic and lab that approaches health from an understanding of its dependence on external local environments rather than on the internal biology and genetic predispositions of an individual. You make an appointment to talk about your particular environmental health concerns and you walk out with a prescription for actions: local data collection & urban interventions directed at understanding & improving your environmental health; plus referrals to projects and organizations that can use the data and actions prescribed to promote social change.



southwest workers union  Southwest Workers Union is an  

 organization of low-income workers

 and families, community residents,

 and youth, united in one

 organizational struggle for worker

 rights, environmental justice and

 community empowerment.

Southwest Organizing Project organizes to build power in historically disenfranchised communities. They do this through leadership development and direct grassroots organizing to influence public policy in a way that creates healthier communities in which to live, work, and play.  


El Puente Green Light District is an initiative for the community of the Southside of Williamsburg (Brooklyn, NY) to speak up and exercise their right to self-determination. Together, as a united community they seek to transform the Southside of Williamsburg from one of the most historically challenged communities in the country to a more equitable, healthy and sustainable place to live.


Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx) works with the South Bronx and under-served urban communities as they transform themselves into great sustainable places to live. They provide a collaborative model that addresses environmental, economic and social concerns through green job training, community greening programs, and environmental education. 


oaklandgreenyouthmediaThe Oakland Green Youth Arts & Media Center is one of the first arts and multimedia centers dedicated to both ecological awareness, and artistic and professional development for underserved youth in the nation. By working as a coalition with other non-profit partners to offer media arts and green job readiness training with wraparound services, this Center aspires to prepare youth to join either the entertainment or green industries. 


ienThe Indigenous Environmental Network is an alliance of grassroots Indigenous peoples whose mission is to protect the sacredness of Mother Earth from contamination and exploitation by strengthening, maintaining, and respecting traditional teachings and natural laws.


Green For All is dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans through a clean energy economy. They work in collaboration with the business, government, labor, and grassroots communities to create and implement programs that increase quality jobs and opportunities in green industry - all while holding the most vulnerable people at the center of our agenda.



dare to change

Dare to Change: Environmental Justice Leadership for Climate Justice, Sustainable Communities and a Deep Green Economy, a report by the Movement Strategy Center, offers compelling stories and analysis of how EJ leaders are harnessing the vision and solutions emerging from frontline communities to create a world where social, political and economic systems sustain all communities while achieving ecological balance. 


Building Healthy Communities from the Ground Up 


is the result of discussions 

between environmental justice organizations in California and other labor and social justice organizations who explored and strategized possible statewide efforts and collaborations. This report represents their initial shared understanding of the landscape of environmental conditions and policy in California and their working framework to address these issues.

As always, we're proud to highlight the great work in this field to support and cross-pollinate an extraordinary network of artists, cultural workers, policymakers, educators, and activists. Please be in touch, and let us know what you think!
All our best,

Amalia, Caron, Kathie, Javiera, and Yolanda
Arts & Democracy Project 
In This Newsletter
Creative Actions & Interventions
Grassroots Cultural Organizing & Networks
Reports from the Field
Conference Call Recording
Listen & Watch
Join Our Mailing List



 podcast image

Listen to Arts & Democracy Project's most recent conference call: Arts, Culture, Media & Environmental Justice Organizing here. The call features Monique Verdin, My Louisiana Love; Nick Slie, Mondo Bizarro; Laura Muraida, Southwest Workers Union; and Hodari Davis, Life is Living  



Earth Amplified is a Green Hip Hop album that features lyrics that touch on many of the environmental and socio-political issues of the day. This video combines Robert van Waarden's images of climate change activism with this great new track - Global Warning - from this newly released EP. 

Global Warning - Earth Day Release
Global Warning - Earth Day Release

Youth Speaks and Brave New Voices Speak Green inspire and support young people to contribute the power of their voices to the green sustainability and climate justice movements.

HAITI: Every Drop Counts
HAITI: Every Drop Counts
Whiplash by Lauren Whitehead
Whiplash by Lauren Whitehead


Where We Live documents one of the fastest-growing & most effective forces combating climate change: organized grassroots movements. 

Where We Live: The Changing Face of Climate Activism 
Where We Live: The Changing Face of Climate Activism

Real Power: Films Fueling the Energy Revolution

Ten groundbreaking filmmakers have come together with cutting-edge grassroots organizations to create a dynamic new film series that supports the movement for a sustainable and just future. 
Reel Power: Films Fueling the Energy Revolution
Reel Power: Films Fueling the Energy Revolution



The Arts & Democracy Project builds the momentum of a cultural movement that draws on a rich history of arts activism, social justice organizing, and grassroots engagement. Arts & Democracy is a sponsored project of State Voices.


Thank you to our funders, Nathan Cummings Foundation and Open Society Foundations.