The environmental and climate justice movements are rooted in the understanding that communities of color and low income communities experience all environmental issues first and worst, including climate change. They also recognize the root of the problem is in an extractive economy that exploits the planet and people for profit. As climate change increases the pressures on our ecological, political and social structures, grassroots community-driven movements that utilize participatory public art and transformative cultural practices are even more essential for change.
The Mural Arts Institute is hosting a virtual and free week-long symposium looking at the transformative work happening at the intersection of community-based cultural practice and environmental justice. The COVID-19 pandemic has further stressed the same communities already grappling with acute climate and environmental crises, both economically and in terms of inequitable health care access and outcomes. The compounding injustices of our social systems and extractive economic model are unsustainable and impossible to ignore any longer. Calls for transformative change are growing louder. In times like these, the essential roles that artists and cultural workers play in communities becomes clear including helping us heal, stay connected, make meaning out of pain, imagine our better future together, and take collective action.
This annual symposium invites artists, activists, scientists, scholars and governmental officials to discuss how creative people and practices are helping us meet the challenges of this moment, and how we can build on that to make a just transition a reality. These changemakers will be logging in from Tribal, urban, rural, and suburban communities throughout the nation for this virtual symposium during the week of May 17-21, 2021, during 12:00-5:00 PM EDT. Mark your calendars and sign up to make sure to get updates and the full agenda.
Schedule of Events for Thursday, May 20:
Water Is Life:
Reflections from an Environmental and Cultural Emergency
Art of Activism:
Live from East Austin