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Join the Conversation about Immigration Arts, Culture & Media in NYC, LA and Online

April 21, 2010

There’s been lots of speculation lately about whether immigration reform will be the next big issue that Obama Administration and Congress will tackle. While many people have strong opinions about immigration, the question remains about how best to “move the hearts and minds” of Americans to support immigrant rights.

To explore creative ways to do just this, the Opportunity Agenda has gathered artists and activists together into an Immigration Arts + Culture Working Group. The first results of these discussions are two public events in New York and Los Angeles. I’ve been helping out with promoting and documenting these events via social media.

The first event last week in New York was sold out and featured several interesting speakers: advocates, a printmaker, a musician/DJ, a playwright and a filmmaker. One idea that stuck with me is that the arts enable us to imagine the future we want to see (i.e. a future that respects immigrant and human rights).

I enjoyed the challenge of documenting the happening with different social media tools and learning along the way. Despite the lack of wifi in the underground space, I took some notes via Twitter: search for #immarts (and lots of running upstairs to street level). The video above is an audio slideshow of Mira Nair‘s keynote address (and another experiment of mine). I also interviewed the speakers right before the event and will have a video ready very soon. We also posted photos of participants and their “immigration stories” on Facebook and invited them to tag themselves.

On May 3 in Los Angeles, the Opportunity Agenda will hold a second event, “Immigrants in America: A Hollywood Persesptive.” If you’re in town, be sure to RSVP right away: seating is limited!

Stay tuned for more audio, photos and video…

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