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BorderLore, August 2015 
In conversations about a more just world, the common language is culture. 

What is that "deep well" from which democracy draws strength, other than cultural diversity?
Culture is the driver linking democracy to human rights and global good. Culture empowers members of a community with a sense of unique identity, helping individuals resist a mass, homogenizing persuasion. Instead, culture is what inspires individuals to become unique animators in a creative and universal participation.
This BorderLore edition provides several illustrations of how culture is a tool for democracy and a meeting point to change the world:
UNESCO formalized the need to protect cultural diversity in a Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, recognized by the United Nations in 2001. The UNESCO Liaison Office to the United Nations, based in Paris, further explains the Declaration to us, here

Identifying national policies that affect collective culture -- this is part of the public purpose of the US Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC is not affiliated with the US government). USDAC Executive Director Arlene Goldbard explains equity, arts and cultural citizenship here

As we gear up for Tucson Meet Yourself, it's important to reflect on how festivals break down barriers and make democracy healthier. Arizona Commission on the Arts Executive Director Robert C. Booker comments here.

The arts so clearly express identity and animate cultural lives.   Performance in the Borderlands is a public programming and education initiative of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, at Arizona State University. Mary Stephens, producing director of Performance in the BorderLands, speaks to how arts and performance are agitators of social justice, here.

Sharing local foods and working in sustainable food production are demonstrations of community building. YWCA of Southern Arizona's Community Life Director and Executive Chef Liane Hernandez also is Tucson Meet Yourself's Cultural Kitchen Director, and she helps us discuss food democracy and tradition, here.

Resilience is part of democracy, and Owl & Panther -- a project of The Hopi Foundation -- supports refugee families who have not had the ability to exercise "voice" in their lives. Author and Teaching Artist Marge Pellegrino, Owl & Panther program manager, speaks to the project's expressive work, here.


The August News Roundup (with the latest on 2015 Tucson Meet Yourself) is here. 
Editor's End Note... 
Culture is the kaleidoscope to help us construct a most colorful aspect of humanity -- a pinhole shining on democracy's diversified expressions. In society's landscape, however, some cling to ancient teachings while others struggle to resist terrains of tradition. Diversified cultures aren't what turn the United States upside down. Ultimately, this daily transmission of cultural expression is what makes us human beings, and gives us what we need to make democracy possible.

"...Most people assume that their cultural legacy is inherited, but this obscures the real-time mechanics of cultural transmission. Culture is created every day in countless enactments between generations, among peers, in groups, and by courageous individuals. Our societies have evolved multiple systems to support the celebration and extension of their cultures...These domains overlap with the evolving realm of public culture, the sector where the private is transformed into the social, and where democracy becomes a relevant paradigm..."
-- by James Bau Graves
Introduction, page 13
Cultural Democracy
Arts, Community and Public Purpose 
2015, Southwest Folklife Alliance. All rights reserved. BorderLore is the monthly e-news magazine of Southwest Folklife Alliance. The study and documentation of folklife involves the accurate representation of people's viewpoints in their own terms; quotes and opinions expressed in interviews with individual tradition bearers do not necessarily reflect the sentiments and opinions of BorderLore editors, the Southwest Folklife Alliance or any specific person or entity at the University of Arizona. 
Managing Editor:   Monica Surfaro-Spigelman 

Thank you for reading this newsletter. We welcome your feedback, commentary and any suggestions or ideas. Write to us at:  swfolklife@gmail.com

Previous issues of BorderLore Newsletter are archived  here and here.