The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture has no connection whatsoever to the government. It is a people-powered department—a grassroots action network inciting creativity and social imagination to shape a culture of empathy, equity, and belonging. The USDAC is calling on artists, creative organizers, concerned citizens, and all community members to join together from April 2-8, 2018, to draw inspiration from and breathe new life into the prophetic words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., strengthening our commitment to speak truth to power and sparking creative action in the year ahead. Below are some ideas that the USDAC has provided to help spark the imagination.
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“Radical” is a much maligned word: it comes from the Latin radix (root), and refers to anything that goes to the root of the matter, rather than tinkering with the leaves and branches. Many people have downplayed Dr. King’s deep spiritual and political radicalism, trying to whitewash his true views. Now it is more important than ever to use our creativity to nourish the roots of love and justice.
Prompts for Story Circles and Art-Making:
To spur your imagination and participation, here are three prompts you can use in a Story Circle or to inspire new creation:
- Share a story, image, or other offering about a time you stepped beyond imposed boundaries to speak truth to and about power.
- Share a story, image, or other offering that shows how our collective challenges are related and that surmounting them requires us of all. What showed you that racism, militarism, materialism and economic justice, climate crisis, mass incarceration, gender justice, disability rights, and freedom of expression are all connected?
- Share a story, image, or other offering about a time you questioned the fairness and justice of a policy and decided to take action to help put it right.
Below, you will find information on related resources and actions. There are events in many local communities as well, so check community calendars for early April activities.
- The MLK + 50 project is calling the year from April 4th 2017 to April 4th 2018 a “year of truth and transformation.” The website for this interfaith education and action project, hosted by The Shalom Center, features a wealth of written resources.
- Riverside Church is hosting actions and activities called “Beyond The Dream: Reliving King’s Legacy.”
- The National Civil Rights Museum is hosting a year of commemorative activities under the heading “Where Do We Go from Here?”
- The National Council of Elders, which is led by sixties civil rights movement veterans, offers resources at its website.
- The King Center provides a calendar of events under the heading “MLK Forward.”
- The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is calling for a nationwide movement, “calling artists to take up the baton and use our creative power to provoke conversation and action around the need to build a New Poor People’s Campaign today that can confront the interconnected evils of racism, poverty, militarism and ecological devastation.”