Immigrant Arts Coalition Hosts The Francesca Cernia Slovin Immigrant Arts & Women's Empowerment Summit

Immigrant Arts Coalition Hosts The Francesca Cernia Slovin Immigrant Arts & Women's Empowerment Summit

The Immigrant Arts Coalition, an advocacy support group comprised of New York City-based cultural organizations, hosted its second annual summit from August 5ththrough 8that the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City. Entitled the Francesca Cernia Slovin Immigrant Arts & Women's Empowerment Summit, this 4-day summit celebrated immigrants hailing from across the globe who have contributed to America's vibrant cultural mosaic.

Honoring diversity and empowerment through the arts, the summit featured panel discussions, talks, workshops, performances from distinguished artists and participants representing the tapestry of arts, community leaders and cultural organizations. The summit featured keynote addresses from Tony Award-nominated dancer and actress Ariana DeBose(Hamilton, A Bronx Tale, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical) andNew York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood.

"It was incredibly inspiring to see all of these amazing participants come together and celebrate the vibrant culture that has been built here in America by immigrants from across the globe," said Chris Massimine, Chair of the Immigrant Arts Coalition. "Immigrants from every corner of the world have made tremendous contributions to our country and our culture. We and look forward continuing to empower, support and advocate for the immigrant artists contributing to our vibrant culture."

"There are no two groups that have contributed more to the life and energy of this great state than immigrants and artists," said New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood. "Immigration is such a fundamental part of the American identity, it seems especially tragic when we close our doors to the immigrants who come after us. Here in New York closing our doors to immigrants harms not only the immigrants themselves and their families but it also harms our institutions in so many ways. My office has been working hard with a number of other State Attorneys General to challenge policies that exclude immigrants, violate the law and harm people and the institutions that rely on them."

The conference featured Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who earlier this summer shocked the political establishment by defeating a long-serving incumbent congressman in the Democratic primary for New York's 14thCongressional district (Bronx, Queens). "You can't be what you can't see is that classic refrain and I think that having an image and having the community see itself in its politics in the first time in a very long time inspired a lot of creativity," said Ocasio-Cortez, who spoke participated in a panel on women's empowerment through the arts. Ocasio-Cortez added that she ran "a grassroots campaign that inspired and was fueled by creativity."

Festivities got underway on Sunday, August 5thwith a free concert at Robert F. Wagner Park hosted by spoken word artist Caridad "La Bruja" De La Luz. The concert featured Cosmopolis Collective, an all-immigrant band with award-winning artists from seven countries and premiered the Coalition's anthem "Carry On," performed by recording artist and television personality Kimberley Locke.

"This year's summit was about coming to the table and engaging in dialogue that breaks stereotypes, removes preconceived notions of different communities, find solutions to current crippling economic and immigration policies, and condemns hatred and discrimination," said Marlena Fitzpatrick, President of the Immigrant Arts Coalition. "Despite a few thought opponents efforts, we successfully came together to discuss and celebrate the work immigrant artists- women and men from a diverse range of backgrounds- to create a thriving culture and build this nation."

The summit concluded with "The United States of Comedy," a special comedy event at the exclusive Friars Club, featuring comings from around the globe including Negin Farsad, Allan Fuks, Misha Han, Joanna Hausmann, Eman El-Husseni, Gregory Korostishevsky, Maureen Langan, Paddy McGuinness, Wary Nichen, Peaches Rodriguez, Ricki Maya Sofer and Gina Yashere.

The Immigrant Arts Coalition began forming in July 2017, when a group of arts and cultural organizations held their first arts summit at the Museum of Jewish Heritage and was officially launched in February. Leaders of the Coalition announced an agenda focusing on key areas of the arts: Advocacy, Diversity Support, Collaboration, Empowerment Through the Arts, and Artistic Engagement. The Coalition's Board of Directors includes: Chair Christopher Massimine; Vice Chair Ayse Eldek, stage and screen actor and director; President Marlena Fitzpatrick, social and music journalist, musician and nationally recognized arts, labor and social justice activist; Secretary Carrie Beehan, artist at GOH Productions; Treasurer Giacinta Pace, actor, producer and journalist; and, Member at Large Laura Caparrotti, actor and Founding Artistic Director of the Kairos Italy Theater in New York and of In Scena! Italian Theater Festival in New York.

You can learn more about the Coalition and its principles, and see a full line up of speakers and panelists from the Immigrant Arts Summit at www.immigrantarts.org.

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