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Director of Cultural Strategies at The Opportunity Agenda
This moment calls for nothing less than us coming together to vision a just and abundant future for all. 

My personal inspiration has been through the lens of a core Native value: Inter-relatedness. The work of thriving together, for me, means recognizing that we are in a web of relationships with fellow humans as well as with our environment. With that, there is a commitment to respectful, nurturing, joyous, and reciprocal relationships with both the networks we build and the networks that sustain us.

In my work as Director of Cultural Strategies at The Opportunity Agenda, we have been focusing on artists leading the way on visioning that just and abundant future for all. We are doing just that with two major cultural projects around the theme We Can Thrive Together that are encouraging folks to reimagine cultural realities and rewrite dominant narratives around economic justice.
First, our joint campaign on economic justice with Cleo Barnett and has produced awesome and inspiring open-source images by Rommy Torrico, Alex Albadree, and Noa Denmon; a discussion guide (in both English and Spanish); and a curriculum for classroom and remote learning - all focused on leading a values-based conversation and sparking imagination on building shared visions and connecting audiences with ways to take action. 

We are also launching our We Can Thrive Together: Culture and Narrative Fellowship that is a call for artists and cultural strategists who are grappling with how to dismantle and replace the dominant narratives of our time — especially those informing racial justice and immigrant rights — for true economic justice. Five folks will be chosen for this six-month fellowship that starts in January 2022. 
This is such an important moment for us to double-down in our shared knowledge that artists, entertainers, and culture bearers have the visionary power to expand the public imagination and pave the way for bold transformation that will improve the lives of fellow humans and our environment for generations to come. 
The Revolutionary Love Project community created a cultural intervention, participating in a month-long program around the 9/11 anniversary to reclaim the moment. This included: attending Balbir Singh Sodhi’s memorial, visiting the 9/11 Hub to learn about the impact of 9/11, watching Valarie Kaur’s film “Divided We Fall,” and sharing educational guides for students.

On Indigenous Peoples Day 2021, due to the work of tribal leaders and Indigenous allies, including Joel Garcia, the City of Los Angeles announced plans to establish an Indigenous Cultural Easement at several sites removing barriers for local Indigenous communities and creating space to gather and practice traditional ceremonies.

Netflix released its second season of Gentefied and celebrated with “GENTEFIED NIGHT” at BLVD MRKT organized by Michael Latt in partnership with Harness. Executive Producer America Ferrera and co-creators Linda Yvette Chávez and Marvin Lemus share authentic stories and dynamics of Latinx families that are rarely depicted in television.

Caring Across Generations partnered with The American Society on Aging to release the first-ever issue of their Generations Journal that features all BIPOC and women-identified authors and experts. The "Care is Fundamental" issue was guest edited by Caring Across' former Policy Director and now Executive Director of Family Values @ Work, Josephine Kalipeni.

Lauren Selman produced this year's Media Access Awards, which honored people in film and television who are advancing accurate, multifaceted portrayals and employment of people with disabilities. Award recipients included Marlee Matlin, Selma Blair, Ryan O'Connell, among others and featured shout-outs from allies like Harness co-founder Wilmer Valderrama!

Gloria Calderón Kellett’s romantic comedy With Love will debut on Amazon Prime Video on Dec. 17. With Love revolves around siblings Lily and Jorge, who are on a mission to find love and purpose. The Diaz siblings cross paths with seemingly unrelated residents during some of the most heightened days of the year — the holidays.
Pillars Fund launched the Pillars Muslim Artist Database, a professional network created to bring more Muslims into the filmmaking process. The network is accessible to producers, casting directors, and other industry leaders who can search the profiles and invite artists to collaborate on their projects. Create your profile here.

Join Joel Garcia at the Open Reception for the "SHAPING THE PAST" Exhibition on Saturday, December 4th, 2021 at Goethe-Institut Los Angeles Project Space. RSVP here. "Shaping the Past builds connections and showcases patterns that constitute a transnational memory culture at work to address systemic racism and sexism, social and economic exclusion, and legacies of colonial and state violence."
Join us for our Harness Community Holiday Party on December 16 from 4:30-6:15pm PT/7:30-9:15pm ET to collectively celebrate each other, this year's wins, and unwind from all the hard work! All Harness Community members are welcome, however, the first 50 RSVPs will receive a Holiday Box of goodies in advance that will include a gingerbread decorating kit from Sacred Kitchen, Harness swag, and some surprises! Sign up HERE.
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