Define American kicked off the new year with an event at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah! Define American’s founder, Jose Antonio Vargas, moderated a sold-out panel discussion at the exclusive MACRO Lodge. (MACRO is a leading authoritative media brand representing the voice and perspective of persons of color.)
During the panel, Sarah E. Lowe, our newly appointed Head of Research and Impact, provided a sneak peek at some groundbreaking findings from our latest entertainment study to be released in March 2020. Moreover, Ekwa Msangi (Farewell Amor) and Erick Castrillon (Blast Beat), two filmmakers with fresh and authentic immigrant narrative films at the festival, spoke about how they use their platforms to move audiences to action for positive social change.
Stay tuned for the release of our full study, and be one of the first to be notified when it’s released by signing up today at DefineAmerican.com/hollywood.
Congratulations to the winners of Define American’s Undocumented Artist Fellowship grant competition!
In May 2019, Define American welcomed our inaugural cohort of Artist Fellows – Eight undocumented artists spanning six cities across five states. They are painters, sculptors, musicians, designers, illustrators, photographers, performance artists, and experimental filmmakers. This is the first national artist fellowship available to undocumented artists working in all mediums and, at the conclusion of the nine-month program, fellows were invited to apply for a continuation grant for ongoing work in their communities.
After a competitive process, two projects were awarded a grant of $5,000 each. They are:
- Christian Arteaga’s one-person theater production, using verbatim theater, interviews, mixed media, and personal experience to reflect the life of an undocumented person, as told by an undocumented person. It will premiere at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in June 2020.
- Karla Rosas and Fernando Lopez’s collaborative multimedia portrait series Caras Vemos, Corazones No Sabemos (The Faces We See, The Hearts We Don’t) which spotlights key members of the New Orleans community who are shaping its history from the bottom up and represent the corazon or “heart” of the city. The project will celebrate the organizers profiled and the communities in which they work.
To receive updates about our artist fellows and the upcoming application window for Year 2 of our fellowship program, sign up for our Arts Interest email list.
Over the last year, the Define American team has grown rapidly, adding eight new members to our team. Already in 2020, we’ve added two more!
Adrian Escarate joined Define American in January as our new Field Organizer, responsible for training and resourcing communities to amplify their stories. He is an experienced organizer, elite tennis player, and DACA-mented American, originally from Santiago, Chile, with an M.A. in Communications from St. Thomas University. Most recently, Adrian worked with FWD.us as an immigration fellow in Florida, pushing back against anti-immigrant narratives and legislation at the state level, and advocating for humane and compassionate solutions to immigration at the national level.
Jelmarie “Juno” Maldonado also joined Define American in January as our Digital Strategist, responsible for developing digital engagement strategies. Juno is a Connecticut-based digital campaigner originally from Puerto Rico, where she started her own consulting firm. She has helped nonprofits around the world build power in their communities through digital tools and organizing. An avid reader and a lover of pop-culture, she wholeheartedly believes in the power of storytelling. Her favorite quote is: “Technology and social media have brought power back to the people.”
The support of our incredible donors enables our team to expand in order to meet the needs that we are facing in this fight. Help us deepen our impact even more in 2020 and beyond by donating today.
With Pi Day (3.14.20) on the horizon, Define American is working on a digital campaign to celebrate the diversity of our nation through the pies that we bake and/or eat. The campaign, #MySliceOfAmerica, celebrates the fact that food brings us together. It inescapably connects the agricultural worker with the suburban family, it connects us with our environment, and it brings family members (chosen or by birth) together. Between March 10-14, share a pie of your own that speaks to your unique American story on Instagram with the hashtag #MySliceOfAmerica and tag @DefineAmerican! There is more that brings us together than divides us. Share your pie and share your story because, together, we define American.