January Becomes Month for Social Justice Activities

January stands for justice. To be more exact, January has become the month for social justice activities around the globe.

As previously reported in Socially Sparked News, January observances include the social justice issues as Anti-Slavery and Human Trafficking Month, National Human Trafficking Day, National Holocaust Remembrance Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Celebrations during the month of January have been plentiful for social justice.

(c) Abbe Sparks, Socially Sparked News

NYC Women’s March, 400,000 Strong.

Here are highlights of a few of the many activities that took place this month rallying around social justice issues:

The month began with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) conference, held annually in New York City. The conference brings together artists, managers, agents, venues and vendors from across the country and around the world. This year included a women’s leadership forum and many conversations on harnessing the power of the arts to foster positive change and promote social justice.

On January 12th, ABC televised the star-studded celebration of the grand opening of The National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Washington, DC, which paid homage to the history and the grand stars of stage, screen, music, sports and more. The spotlight was on stars of yesteryear: who they were, what they stood for, underscoring how much bigger they could have been in a different era. Since its opening, over 800,000 people have visited the museum.

(c) Abbe Sparks, Socially Sparked News, LLC

Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra with Special Guest Conductor & Pianist GERI ALLEN
at Le Poisson Rouge, NYC for Finale of Winter Jazz Fest

In New York City, Winter Jazz Fest — held each January — devoted this year’s festival to social justice and environmental activism.

Closing night at NYC’s Le Poisson Rouge in the Village showcased a very special concert with The Charlie Haden Liberation Orchestra with special guest Conductor and Pianist Geri Allen. Dedicated to social justice, their very moving and poignant set included instumentals of America, My Country ‘Tis of Thee and We Shall Overcome.

In the theatre world: on Off-Broadway, a never-before-seen version of Andrew Kooman’s critically-acclaimed play SHE HAS A NAME, about human trafficking debuted at The Elektra Theatre. Ripple Effect Artists, the non-profit theatre company producing the play, ht, has a mission of moving audiences from apapthy to action through art. Each of the three preview charity performances included a talkback with either an expert or a survivor, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Restore NYC, Breaking The Silence Together and Coalition Against Human Trafficking in Women.

Hours before the Presidetial inauguration of Donald Trummp, the Broadway community banded together under organizers’ Sirius XM’s Seth Rudetsky and his husband/producer James Wesley, for a special afternoon concert at New York City’s The Town Hall. “Concert for America,” designed to raise funds for national organizations dedicated to protecting civil rights, women’s health and environmental protection. A side benefit was that the concert brought optimism to an uncertain and to some in the theatre industry, dismal time. The stars of the Big White Way took to the stage with songs and speeches rallying the troops with spirit and love.

Perhaps the largest non-violent protest in recent history, people worldwide participated in the Women’s March on Washington with sister marches in their respective cities, towns and countries in support of wommen’s rights, human rights, civil rights and more. Still to be determined is whether this historical day will turn into a full-blown movement or remain one day in history.

This final week in January has brought out further stands for social justice with the news from Boy Scouts Of America that they will be reversing their 100 year old policy and allow transgender boys, plus the many voices from the acting community during the Sag Awards that clearly spoke out during their acceptance speeches.

We would be remiss not to mention January’s national holiday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (MLK). Leaving a legacy of love, MLK Day is a time to celebrate the man and his advocacy for the advancement of civil rights through nonviolent means. While Dr. King’s dream has made major inroads — the reality is — it’s still a work in progress.

Needless to say, the dream continues for Dr. King and his predecessors, as it does for women and for too many others to name them all, in the pursuit of equality. — Abbe Sparks is Socially Sparked. @sosparkednews