ACPJ Executive Director to talk on Performing Arts and the Civil Rights Movement

The Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice will soon host an online event showcasing the role performing arts have played in the civil rights movement.

It will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 2 p.m. Mountain Standard Time on Zoom. The event features Jim Harvey, the executive director of the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice. He will be discussing the relationship between the performing arts and the civil rights movement, and how this relationship has and continues to influence the arts.

Harvey thinks that the Civil Rights Movement plays a similar role in the arts now as it did when the movement was first taking place, because it has “important messaging about current events” and “issues that need to be addressed.” He also feels that “sometimes messaging through artistic expression is the best way to get through to people.” He also mentioned that people who are involved in the arts and participate in the creation and development of that messaging have a “[raised] consciousness,” and it can “encourage them to participate” in other ways outside of the artistic portions.

To Harvey, Black History Month “is a time to both reflect on where we have been and have serious discussions on where we are going.” He also mentioned it is important to talk about historic achievements, but “there needs to be serious discussions around issues and challenges… being faced today. Which are many.” This month can also be a time to bring people together, safely, to focus on what is important. He does this every week on his Saturday morning show, where the entire month of Feb. is “devoted to moments in black history and discussions about current events and challenges that we all need to be aware of and engaged in.” His television show airs on public access cable channel 27, it can also be found on YouTube, called “That Saturday Show,” it airs every Saturday morning at 10 a.m. Mountain Standard Time.

For people outside the African American community, Harvey said the best way to be an ally to the community it to “educate, educate, educate.” This includes educating oneself and their communities and be “active allies and challenging injustices the African American community continues to experience on a daily basis.”

The Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice is in its 38th year of operation. The center is an “umbrella” to many organizations of all sizes that work together to address issues such as racism, police brutality and environmental issues, amongst others.

Harvey also mentioned that the center has become a “catalyst for action.” Some of these actions includes working on legislation, as high as the state level, to address topics like the elimination of qualified immunity, reducing sentencing guidelines for youth and eliminating private prisons.

The center works to gather groups that are talking about these topics and wanting to make changes, so that they may work together in the process of achieving it. While the center does a significant amount of work within Albuquerque, they often work in other communities within the state when needed. Harvey said that working for the center was “a call to him;” and that there is “so little inter organizational cooperation,” and once he found the center it was an obvious answer to him.

The event is part of the Black History Month celebrations presented by the Department of Multicultural Affairs. To join, you must RSVP ahead of time; this can be done through information that has been sent through the school email system.

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