Thank You to our partners and funders: W.K. Kellogg Foundation; NEA-NM Center for Community Schools; NMSU Borderlands and Ethnic Studies (BEST); Alma d’arte Charter High School - shout out to Mr. Padilla, Ms. St. Clair, Mr. Hernandez .
This is the 7th annual observance of the National Day of Racial Healing, occuring every Tuesday following Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. It is hosted by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and was created with and builds on the work and learnings of the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) community partners. Fundamental to this day is a clear understanding that racial healing is at the core of racial equity. Racial healing restores individuals and communities to wholeness. Racial healing repairs the damage caused by racism. It facilitates trust, builds authentic relationships, and is essential to organizational and systemic transformation.
Piro-Manso-Tiwa Healing in Their Homelands
Centennial HS; the Cordova Sisters and Translanguaging
Mescalero Apache Middle/High School; Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women/Femicides
A. Billi Free is a multi-hyphenate music artist and community organizer of Black and Samoan heritage. Surrounded by gospel, soul and R&B in her youth with a background in choral chamber music and musical theater, she discovered hip hop and jazz as a teenager working at her local music store. She began her performance career as a university student in Chicago providing vocals for various Hip Hop and World music outfits. As she conditioned her performance, vocal and songwriting skills A. Billi Free completed her BA in Latin American/Latino Studies while working as a Student Development Coordinator and Community Advocate for DePaul University’s Steans Center for Community-Based Service Learning. While in this position, she assisted study abroad student service trips to Nogales & Chiapas, Mexico and Accra, Ghana. A. Billi Free has spent the last decade on the desert frontier of southern New Mexico, west Texas and northern Mexico fusing elements of both the city and the border into her sound and work via live performances, musical collaborations, international cross-cultural arts diplomacy and community advocacy.
Swingtowns Finest is a hip hop group comprised of two brothers out of Springfield Massachusetts. A pair of producers/songwriters/recording artists that continue to push the boundaries of their music with a genre they call Soul Hop. Currently residing in Southwest Texas, and Central Arizona, Swngtwns Finest brings a fresh, energetic east coast hip hop sound with an appeal different from the rest!
While writing/producing songs for their own projects, these two brothers continue to work on their craft as music producers creating a wide variety of music for other artists. Genres include not only hip hop, but alternative rock, electronic dance music and R&B just to name a few. Swingtowns Finest has also gained some exposure by having their music placed in film festivals as background scores, commercial placements as well as projects for netflix.
Kellin, a member of the duo, is a friend and former member of the Learning Action Buffet and who was instrumental in the establishment of our very own Radio Hour on KTAL-LP 101.5 FM.
The Open Mic portion of the event was an action-packed hour filled by youth who signed up, featured artists, LAB Youth Members and Alma d' Arte student attendees.
The National Day of Racial Healing theme was the main subject of this Open Mic. This time brought people together from different backgrounds to show a part of who they are.
There was original music, art, poetry, spoken word, and short stories.
What Mends your Heart ?
LAB youth leaders co-facilitate the Happy Canvas Project. For the National Day of Racial healing, participants of all ages are creating canvas tapestries based on the question:
Q: What mends your heart; what nurtures racial healing?
Each participant designs a square for a quilt that will be displayed in a variety of places in Las Cruces.