Activate Equity 2018

Activate Equity: Insights, Inspirations & Connections is a gathering of artists, activists, and educators who seek to disrupt the racial and social inequities in the arts & culture sector through creative solutions. This day-long program is action-oriented, with multiple ways to engage and contribute - ultimately aiming to introduce new models, information, techniques, resources, and connections. Scroll down for Activate Equity 2018 schedule and developments. 

The Field is offering sliding scale tickets in order to make this program accessible for our artists and the greater community. Admission includes access to the full day of programming, lunch, and evening networking reception. Click here for sliding scale tickets, $0-120. Walk-in participants are welcome, and we will do our best to accommodate last-minute requests.

Activate Equity 2018 Saturday March 17 10am to 5pm at Gibney Dance.png

Schedule of Events

9:30am - 10:00am Check-in

10:00am - 10:15am Opening Remarks from The Field
Wilfredo Hernandez (Program Manager) and Shawn René Graham (Deputy Director, Programs and Services)

10:15am - 10:45am Art Sharing
The People's Puppets of Occupy Wall Street

People's Puppets of Occupy Wall Street liberty march photo

The People's Puppets of Occupy Wall Street was founded in October 2011 in Zuccotti Park (AKA Liberty Plaza) during the first two weeks of the Occupation of New York City. One of many groups that began then and remains active today, it continues on as a collective that helps other activists and organizers to build beautiful and effective visuals for actions.

The group will discuss their history, organizational practices, and different forms of collaboration at Activate Equity 2018. They will also share examples of large-scale puppets, banners, signs, and videos that help front line communities to amplify their voices.

10:45am Keynote Address
Keynote Speaker: Rokafella

Ana "Rokafella" Garcia headshot

Ana "Rokafella" Garcia is a New York City native who has represented women in Hip-hop dance professionally over the past two decades. In 1992 she and her husband (veteran B-boy Kwikstep) founded Full Circle Prod Inc: NYC's only nonprofit break dance theater company, generating theater pieces, original poetry and NYC based dance related events.

Rokafella is a multi faceted Hip-hop artist who references street and Latino culture as her foundation. She has been featured in pivotal rap music videos, tours, film, and commercials, as well as choreographed for diverse festivals and concerts such as Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Momma's Hip-hop Kitchen and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She performs music based on her experiences growing up in Hip-hop's Mecca, and is hired internationally to judge Break dance competitions based on her mastery of the classic Hip-hop dance style. She teaches unique workshops aimed at evolving and preserving its technical aspects, and has worked within the NYC public school system to expose young students to the possibility of a career in dance.

Rokafella is the director of All The Ladies Say, a 2006 documentary highlighting the B-girl lifestyle, made with support from the Ford Foundation. In May of 2017 she launched Shiroka, a T-shirt fashion line with Japanese grafitti writer Shiro.

She is currently an artist in residence at the American Tap Dance Foundation, an adjunct professor at The New School, and a Dance/NYC Annual Symposium planning committee member.

11:45am - 12:45pm Breakout Sessions
Choose 1 of 2 options

Chinatown Art Brigade 9-24-Projection cropped photo by Louis Chan.jpgOption A: Creative Strategies for Placekeeping and Anti-Gentrification Organizing 
Facilitated by Betty Yu

As Asian American artists we understand that displacement and institutional racism go hand in hand, from the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act to the Japanese Internment Camps of 1942. Chinatown Art Brigade is a women led collective of Asian American artists and activists who understand that our fight is part of continuum of those who came before us. Betty Yu, a co-founder of CAB, will share their experiences, best practices and strategies in using art, culture and media to help advance housing rights and anti-displacement organizing in Chinatown - a community that has been thriving for nearly 150 years. From large scale public projections, story circles, oral history, placekeeping walks, photography and community mapping, Betty will share their cultural approaches to working with Chinatown tenants of CAAAV’s Chinatown Tenants Union.

Chinatown Art Brigade (CAB) is a cultural collective of artists, media makers and activists creating art and media to advance social justice. Their work is driven by the fundamental belief that collaboration with and accountability to thosecommunities that are directly impacted by racial, social and economic inequities must be central to our cultural, art, or media making process. CAB is collaborating with the Chinatown Tenants Union of CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, a grassroots non-profit that organizes low-income pan-Asian communities around tenant rights, fighting evictions and displacement. Photo by Louis Chan 

League of Independent Theater logoOption B: An Artist's Guide to Participating in your Community (Board)
Moderated by Jonathan McCrory

The League of Independent Theater advocates for independent theater makers in New York City. We've joined forces with arts and community organizations to give you the resources you need to defend, support and protect local art creators and practitioners throughout the city. Community boards play an important role in improving the quality of life for all New Yorkers, but many people don’t realize the significance of these boards or how they operate. Jonathan McCrory of National Black Theater will lead a discussion on engaging with your community board and becoming a better advocate for you neighborhood community at large. During the workshop you’ll learn how you can participate in your local board, how it can aid your artistic practice and help you protect the interests of your neighborhood community, and considerations to keep in mind if you're new in the community. 

League of Independent Theater (LIT) was formed by artist/producers, John Clancy, Paul Bargetto and John Pinkard, to unify the voices and protect the interests of those who work and enjoy independent theater across the five boroughs. The League is an active participant in the political and social life of the Off Off Broadway sector, meeting regularly with elected officials, service organizations and its member artists on the issues including real estate, codes and contracts, green and sustainable practices, foreign language & international artist services, and politics, research, and outreach.

12:45 - 1:45pm Lunch - Free for all attendees with RSVP
Catering by The Grey Dog, with vegan & gluten-free options available

+ Optional Lunchtime Roundtable Discussion: Lessons from Field Leadership Fund & Arts Fellowships

Intention Accountability and Equity publication cover with FLF Fellows Aya Lane and Kyoung H Park

Join Field Leadership Fund alumni Aya Lane and Kyoung H. Park in a lunch-time roundtable discussion celebrating the launch of The Field's newest publication Intention, Accountability and Equity: Lessons from Field Leadership Fund, An Emerging Arts Fellowship. You can register to attend this lunch discussion when you check-in at the registration table on March 17th. If you are interested in professional development programs and how these opportunities intersect with issues of equity then come and join in the discussion!

Aya Lane is gender variant choreographer, sound manipulator and pole dancer who explores blackness, their southern roots, healing, magic, gender, sexuality, liberation, invisibility/ hypervisibility and the power in ratchetness. They're elevatED and Liquid Motion certified, and teach pole classes for queer + trans people of color. They've choreographed for Dixon Place's HOT! Festival, BAAD's BAADASS Women Festival, and the Center for Performance Research Fall Festival 2017. They've performed in Another Goddamn Lesbian Movie: a choreopoem and helped devise Dark Girl Chronicles. They facilitate Manifesting Through Movement workshops to help people use their bodies as a tool to reclaim the power that comes from being in black and brown bodies.

Kyoung H. Park was born in Santiago, Chile and is the first Korean playwright from Latin America to be produced and published in the United States. He is author of Sex and Hunger, disOriented, Walkabout Yeolha, Tala, Pillowtalk and many short plays including Mina, which is published in Seven Contemporary Plays from the Korean Diaspora in the Americas by Duke University Press. Kyoung writes and directs his own work as Artistic Director of Kyoung’s Pacific Beat, a peacemaking theater company, based in Brooklyn. Kyoung has been a grant panelist for the NEA, TCG, and ART/NY. MFA: Playwriting (Columbia University).

2:00pm - 3:30pm Plenary Session
All attendees participate!

Theatre of the Oppressed NYC logo.pngTheatre of the Oppressed NYC Forum on Arts Equity with Scenes from “Restricted Places II” 

Join members of TONYC’s Rapid Response troupe to play core games of Theatre of the Oppressed, and to engage in a forum of scenes from Restricted Places II, an original play addressing cultural equity and access for low-income New Yorkers. Participants will be invited to bring their ideas on equity into the scenes as “spect-actors,” taking on the role of the protagonist to explore creative interventions and alternatives in the Forum Play. Following the forum, participants will be invited to brainstorm structural change ideas to address the problems presented in the play as an introduction to our Legislative Theatre process.

About the troupe: TONYC’s Rapid Response Troupe, made up of veteran actors from TONYC Forum Theatre Troupes provides short-notice, flexible, targeted, and creative support to grassroots organizers and campaigns. This experimental troupe draws on communities’ and activists’ collective knowledge to attract new audiences to urgent grassroots campaigns and engage those audiences in transformative conversation--while devising new strategies, through improvisation, with which to hold the powerful accountable and demand substantive change. The Rapid Response Troupe is facilitated by Liz Morgan. Liz works with TONYC as a Joker and as Community Resource Coordinator. She is an actor and playwright, best known for her poem "Why I was Late Today and Will Probably Always be Late as a Black Woman" featured in The Huffington Post. She holds both a B.A. and M.F.A. from Brown University where she was a graduate teaching fellow in the Theatre Arts department as well as the recipient of the Davis Wickham Prize for Excellence in Playwriting. Liz has worked as a teaching artist with Opening Act, The Other Side and People's Theatre Project. 

Theatre of the Oppressed NYC partners with communities fighting against oppression to inspire transformative action through theatre. Their goals are to build community, solidarity, and awareness; to enable actors to become activists; and to influence policy-making through participatory theatre. Their work is guided by several core principles: that any discussion of a social problem should center the voices of those directly affected; that unscripted, live encounters have immense potential for transformative change; and that community-based art and activism can influence structural change. 

3:30pm - 4:30pm Closing Remarks, Networking and Wine Reception!

Price: $0-120 (Sliding Scale) The $120 ticket represents the full face value for the day-long event, including lunch and networking reception. Please contribute whatever you can to help us meet the costs of producing this ambitious program. To reserve your spot, select the ticket option that is right for you.

Accessibility: For wheelchair access or any other special considerations to fully participate in this program, please contact Program Manager Wilfredo Hernandez at 212-691-6969 ext.16 or

This program is supported in part by:
Art Works - National Endowment for the Arts logoNew York State Council on the Arts logoNYC Department of Cultural Affairs logo