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Welcome to the Harness Community Dispatch. Each month, we look forward to highlighting members of our community of artists, activists, and movement leaders working to imagine and create a more equitable world. We hope this newsletter educates and inspires you to take action.
Executive Director at Harness

Dear Harness Community,
At the age of 25, I met my biological mother for the first time. All I can remember is her tears, and the pain and guilt in her eyes as she could only say, “I am so sorry” in Korean over and over again.
At the time of my adoption, South Korea had virtually no social services for child-bearing people. Societal stigma around an unmarried pregnancy was severe, my biological father left mid-pregnancy, and child support wasn’t yet public law. For-profit adoption agencies pressured pregnant individuals into giving their children up for adoption, especially targeting low-income, factory-working women.

Underfunded social services. Inequitable laws. Manipulation of the most vulnerable. This isn’t just 1980s Korea - this is the same backdrop in which the current anti-abortion industry callously hails adoption as some easy alternative, while completing ignoring the real human experience, the family, and the economic, health, and mental health effects of an unplanned pregnancy. Not to mention the fundamental dehumanization that comes with denying a person the right to make decisions about their own body.

Here at Harness, this is exactly what we’re designed to fight. When the government and policy deck is stacked against us, we leverage the greatest tool we have left - culture - to educate, inspire, and activate.

Today in America, we desperately need the power of culture. Not just for reproductive rights, but for gun violence prevention, ending police violence, advancing Black liberation, stopping Asian hate, growing Indigenous rights and preserving Native lands, Latine rights and fighting for dignified comprehensive immigration reform, ensuring LGBTQIA+ rights and protecting trans youth and adults, increasing disability rights, securing climate and environmental justice, advocating for diverse representation in our workplaces and on the screen, preserving and growing voting rights, and so many other important struggles embedded in Harness’ commitments to strive for racial justice, gender justice, and civic justice.

As Harness’ new Executive Director, I am fired up and ready to continue tireless and passionate advocacy for the rights and values we hold sacred and the justice yet to come. I am incredibly grateful to America, Ryan, Wilmer, the Board and Harness team for their faith in me, and for the warm reception from so many of you in the Harness community. It’s through our relationships with each other and our solidarity that we will harness the power of culture to create a more just, representative, equitable, and loving world. 

In partnership,

Poder Latinx released virtual art gallery Galería de Colores. Powered by their Votar es Poder campaign, it integrates Latinx art, music, and culture for an innovative experience. The gallery centers the work of local Latina/o/x artists centering social justice for our community in order to empower the Latinx community to use their voice and vote in the 2022 midterm elections.

Yvonne Russo (Sicangu Lakota) joined the Directors Guild of America under the Directors branch. After over twenty years in the entertainment industry, Yvonne is one of just a handful of indigenous Directors to join the distinguished class of filmmakers. 

National Domestic Workers Alliance published a research report in partnership with the Norman Lear Center's Media Impact Project, Spotlighting Domestic Workers: Representation in Film & TV. This report takes a deep dive into the history of domestic worker representation on screen over the last 100 years – from how they've been referred to, to demographics, to speaking roles and language complexity – and includes recommendations on how storytellers can craft more authentic and complex depictions of domestic workers.

Lacy Lew Nguyen Wright spoke on a panel about mentorship in the film community at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Protect the Sacred founder and Harness's Programs Manager, Allie Redhorse Young, performed the land acknowledgment at When We All Vote's Culture of Democracy Summit. She was also verbally recognized by Michelle Obama during her keynote speech.

Hillman Grad Foundation premiered 10 new shorts at the Tribeca Film Festival as part of their Rising Voices Initiative to discover the generation of BIPOC filmmakers. Watch them online through Tribeca At Home.

The deadline for The Navajo Nation to register to vote is Friday, June 24 at 5 pm.

The 3rd annual Hollywood Climate Summit, by YEAImpact, is happening now! Join today for events, panel discussions, and networking through June 26 (virtual and in-person options available for all).

Women's March will host the 2022 Women's Convention in Houston, TX on August 12-14, 2022. This convention is the collaborative effort of Women's March, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Black Feminist Future, National Organization For Women, National Women's Law Center, and UltraViolet. Apply to host a session!

Elevated Access offers transportation for abortion care and gender-affirming operations to those who have to travel over 250 miles to access them. Share this resource with those who need care or pilots who may be interested in joining the volunteer fleet. 

United We Dream is searching for 12 contestants and a host for a cook-off web series. If you love to cook and have a family recipe to share (or know someone who does) apply to be a contestant. If you think you'd make an engaging host, apply hereDeadline to apply is July 5, 2022. 

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