Posts tagged with "community"

Graffiti and art article illustrated by Gabrielle Archuleta for 360 magazine

Imagination in Motion Youth Art Contest Winners

WonderWorks Myrtle Beach announces its youth art contest winners. ART-OLINA: Youth Art Gallery of the Carolinas, located inside WonderWorks Myrtle Beach, will display the winning pieces for a year. The winners also each receive four complimentary tickets to WonderWorks to visit the art gallery and see their work on display. The winners of this year’s art contest are:

Dawson, 12th Grade, Socastee High School, Art Title: COVID19 Self Portrait

Rori, 8th Grade, Loris Middle School, Art Title: The Dream

Erin, 7th Grade, Bob Jones Academy, Art Title: Free to Dream

Corbin, 8th Grade, Black Water Middle School, Art Title: Right and Left State of Mind

Addysyn, 6th Grade, Bryson Middle School, Art Title: Mind on Me

Anna, 5th Grade, Waccamaw Elementary School, Art Title: Light through the Dark

Kaylee, 6th Grade, St. James Intermediate School, Art Title: Thinking About Art in Space

Weston, 3rd Grade, Aynor Elementary School, Art Title: In the Wild

Adayln, 1st Grade, Carolina Forest Elementary School, Art Title: Thinking

“We received a lot of great artwork from the youth in our community,” explains Robert Stinnett, general manager at WonderWorks Myrtle Beach. “We are happy to be able to have some of it on display for the next year. This is a great way to honor our young artists and to inspire others.”

Submissions for the art contest were accepted through December 18, 2020, with the winning submissions going on display January 22, 2021. The theme for this year’s contest was “Time to Think,” which encouraged young artists to think and express their thoughts through art. All of the artwork focused on being unique in concept, design, and execution. All winning artwork will help expand the illusion art gallery in a special section created to highlight local area youth art.

Encouraging youth to engage in art comes with many benefits. According to the National Endowment for the Arts, youth that engage in arts do better in school, are more optimistic, less likely to try drugs, and have higher school attachment. Additionally, youth who engage in art tend to have a higher quality of life, reduced stress and make them feel more involved in the community.

“Art is one of the things that we focus on here at WonderWorks Myrtle Beach,” added Stinnett. “We are happy to offer the area’s young artists a chance to have their artwork on display. Combine that with all the other family fun we offer, and it’s a winning combination.”

WonderWorks Myrtle Beach programs include the WonderWorks WonderKids event,  ART-OLINA Young Artist’s Gallery of the Carolinas, online science worksheets, sensory days, group rates, birthday parties and a homeschool program.

WonderWorks Myrtle Beach offers a variety of STEM- related activities, including virtual learning labs, science fair partnerships, on-site exhibits, activities and more. To learn more about the program, visit the site here. To learn more about the most recent career highlight, visit the site.

WonderWorks Myrtle Beach has COVID-19 safety measures in place. They include reduced hours, enhanced cleaning, spatial distancing protocols, employee health screenings and employee personal protective equipment (PPE).

About WonderWorks

WonderWorks, a science-focused indoor amusement park, combines education and entertainment. With over 100 hands-on exhibits, there is something unique and challenging for all ages. Feel the power of 84-mph hurricane-force winds in the Hurricane Shack. Make huge, life-sized bubbles in the Bubble Lab. Get the NASA treatment in our Astronaut Training Gyro and experience zero gravity. Nail it by lying on the death-defying Bed of Nails. Conquer your fear of heights on our indoor Glow-In-The-Dark Ropes Course. WonderWorks is open 365 days a year and hosts birthday parties and special events.

Isabelle Fries makes a brief splash inside 360 MAGAZINE

ISABELLE FRIES

At 22 years old, Isabelle Fries has started to make a name for herself in the music industry. Not only is she gifted in her art, she has an extremely large heart.

Born in Sydney, but raised in Denver, Colorado, Fries found her inclination for singing at a young age. “I knew I wanted music to be a part of my life since I was about 7, but as I got older I was able to recognize that it is a labor of love for me,” she expressed. “I have never searched for fame through my music.” 

Not long after, she discovered her heart had room for another love, philanthropy. At just 15 years old, Fries became the first youth board member and youth leader for the Global Livingston Institute (GLI) an NGO in Uganda who’s mission is to educate students & community leaders on innovative approaches to international development and empower awareness, collaboration, conversations and personal growth. 

Through working with this organization, Isabelle travelled to Uganda to teach, perform and empower. In 2017, Fries performed in front of 20,000 people in Uganda at the annual iKnow HIV Awareness Concert Series along with other musicians from around the world, using music to breakdown barriers, bring people together and provide free medical testing and awareness for HIV for over 8,500 Ugandans.  

“I became a part of GLI when I was 15 and fully threw myself into their mission and their work. It is what opened my eyes to one of my passions I am now pursuing in international education. They really focus on young voices and drawing on perspectives from all types of individuals which is why I was asked to be on the board at such a young age. GLI is truly one of the most important things in my life so I could not be more thankful to be a part of it.” 

This wasn’t the only organization Fries carried out philanthropic work with. She volunteered in Haiti with The Road to Hope, an International Affairs Intern with Creative Visions in Malibu, California and a community worker with CEPIA in Costa Rica.

Isabelle still wanted to do more for Eastern African communities. She founded the “Bulamu Raise Your Voice Community Foundation (BCF)” and was able to draw on inspiration from one of her other life-long devotions: swimming. 

For twelve years, she swam competitively breaking records, winning State Championships and being a leader on her teams until complications from several autoimmune disorders forced her out of the water. This was never a part of her plan, but she was able to alter her life’s path and kept pushing through

“It is not something that I let control my life or hold me back from living. I take care of myself in every way I can and find strength in what I am able to do and learn new ways to improve my way of life,” she expressed. 

One of Fries’ missions with both GLI and BCF is to raise awareness for water safety on Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda by teaching swimming to prevent drownings. By working closely with GLI and the headmaster of the Kazi Primary School, Fries has been able to carry out this initiative, as well as implementing academic, music and sports curriculum.  

She said that the community of Lake Bunyonyi changed her life by seeing how they are such powerful and driven people. “I don’t go for my own benefit or to be a ‘white savior’ ,” she asserted. “When I work in Uganda, I give the individuals I work with support and resources and they truly do the rest.”

Isabelle was fortunate enough to meet one of her long time role models, Michael Phelps. Fostering a relationship with someone who has shaped her life in so many ways in and out of the water has been such a blessing, says Fries. This lead to her working with the Michael Phelps Foudation (MPF), where she took the opportunity to become certified in their “IM Water Safety Program” which is implemented in The Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

When given the opportunity again to combine her music and philanthropy through the MPF, she couldn’t resist. Isabelle was asked to open for country singer, Eric Church, at a MPF benefit concert in Chicago at the iconic Arcada Theater. “Swimming is an incredibly big part of my life as I was a serious competitive swimmer from the ages of 5 to 18, therefor having the chance to combine my music with my love and passion for swimming and water safety was very special and meaningful.” 

Now a recent graduate of The University of Southern California, Fries splits her time living between Denver and Los Angeles, continuing to pursue her passions: music and philanthropy, while working in Denver at a non-profit dedicated to mentoring students. Isabelle holds a degree in International Relations with minors in Spanish as well as  Non-Profits, Philanthropy and Volunteerism. 

While studying at USC, Isabelle was fortunate enough to catch the eye of Grammy-winning, multi-platinum producer/mixer Rob Chiarelli, who she’s fostered an incredibly close relationship with. 

She began releasing music signed with Chiarelli’s label Streetlamp records this year, already finding a widespread and loyal audience across all music platforms using her rich, soulful vocal that could be compared to the sound of Lauren Daigle or Adele. She recently released her 6th single, a raw piano ballad called “All We Had. When people listen to her music, Fries always wants to make them truly feel – whatever that feeling may be. Through channeling lyrics with her songwriters from her own life experiences, the emotions she is able to elicit are special to her. 

While the music may be interpreted differently for each unique individual, her raw style is something she hopes help guide those listeners on whatever journey they want to take. “I’ve always said, I love music because it lets you feel something you didn’t think you could.”

This is definitely something she mirrors artistically with one of her musical inspirations, Amy Winehouse. Growing up performing jazz music, Fries describes this genre as a big part of her musical identity, so she was instantly drawn to Winehouse’s style which she catalogs as “authentic, raw and groundbreaking. Amy created music unapologetically.”

But Fries’ number one music icon is Sir Elton John. “His music was always around me when I was growing up. My parents loved all music from that time and exposed me to it at a very young age which is one of the reasons it is the type of music I love the most. 

However, Elton John’s music was different for me, it felt like poetry and real emotion. His sound and songs are like stories that you never want to end. When I began to listen to him more I realized this is the type of music I want to sing and be a part of.” 

Feeling very blessed to have found such a supportive team, guiding her in finally being able to put her own original songs out there into the world, she is excited to evolve using her music to help create change, perform live again, and continue to build upon her body of work. While she’s away in the studio recording, we’ll be out here patiently waiting for more music, while she continues to use her voice to make the world a better place. 

Kaelen Felix Illustrates a Fundraising Article for 360 MAGAZINE

Gilda’s Club x The Yellow Cab Project

Nov. 12, the Gilda’s Club NYC will host their annual gala, honoring Giovanni Caforio (M.D. Bristol Myers Squibb) and Emma Stone (Actress and Gilda’s Club NYC Ambassador), virtually.

As part of this year’s Gilda’s Club NYC fundraising, Remembering Marco will participate in the virtual auction launched on Nov. 5 with The Yellow Cab Project. The Yellow Cab Project is part of Remembering Marco, a charity initiative started by Annalisa Menin in 2013 to raise funds in memory of her husband, Marco Omiccioli.

Annalisa Menin, an Italian entrepreneur and writer who was originally from Venice, Italy, built her name with her first publishing project “My Last Year in New York,” a blog that then became a book.

It was dedicated to her husband, Marco Omiccioli, who died prematurely at the age of 33 from cancer in Nov. of 2013.

The Yellow Cab Project started when Annalisa stopped in front of the Kendra Scott window in SoHo, located at the intersection of Spring and Greene Streets. Along with jewelry and beautiful handbags, there were a few die-cast model yellow cabs being used as props, a tribute to the city of New York.

Annalisa went inside to ask what would happen to all those models once the window was emptied. Once she discovered that they would be thrown away, she thought, “Oh, no! I want them!”

Two weeks later, she went home in a real life version of those models, driven by a lovely gentleman with a white, cloud-shaped beard. She carried eight boxes containing as many cabs.

Annalisa created The Yellow Cab Project in 2020. It involved five international artists, designers and creatives, giving them the opportunity to “contaminate” the die-cast model cabs in their own way. The five artists were Warø, Jon Koon, Iena Cruz, Marco Gallotta and Clint Henderson.

To remember Marco in this very eventful year, Annalisa chose to support Gilda’s Club NYC. She strongly believes in their mission to “support, educate, and empower cancer patients and their families.”

This year, Gilda’s Club is turning 25 years old, and they will celebrate this important milestone with a virtual gala Nov. 12. It is the perfect occasion for the die-cast models, now precious objects of beauty and art, to be donated and auctioned, raising funds for Gilda’s Club NYC and its community from Nov. 5 to Nov. 16.

“We are so excited to have these one-of-a-kind yellow taxis included in our 25th Anniversary milestone event to benefit our cancer patients and families and are grateful for this generous collaboration with Annalisa and the remembering Marco Omiccioli Charity Initiative,” said Lily Safani, CEO of Gilda’s Club.

In these unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gilda’s Club NYC, the cancer support organization founded in memory of Saturday Night Live comedienne, Gilda Radner, transitioned their free cancer support program to a virtual program. They will continue to provide essential support services to cancer patients who are among some of the most vulnerable in this pandemic.

Members have expressed sincere gratitude for their quick transition to virtual programming. Due to the increased demand for this program and an affected donor base, they need additional funds to serve their current and growing community.

Annalisa personally experienced how important it is for grieving individuals to have a support system, especially in a city like New York, where many are far away from loved ones. She joined one of the bereavement group at Gilda’s Club NYC in 2013 after her husband Marco passed away, and it helped her tremendously.

You can find more information about Gilda’s Club by clicking right here.

Decrease in Violence Following NYC Crisis Management Efforts

Labor Day weekend typically reflects an increase in violence in New York and other cities, yet this past weekend saw a dramatic decrease in shootings within areas patrolled by members of New York City’s Crisis Management System (CMS). Some CMS zones, including that of Southeast Queens, reported zero shootings. In Brooklyn, a coalition of over 100 people patrolled the streets in orange together to prevent violence.

New York City has experienced an outbreak of gun violence – an uptick of over 210 shootings in the past 28 days. Recent shootings have occurred primarily in areas outside of the 24 zones with CMS-affiliated organizations operating.

“Violence is a public health epidemic and our neighborhoods have been destabilized by COVID-19 and job loss. At the beginning of this year, CMS anticipated an increase in violence and we requested an additional $200 million from the city to increase the size and scope of the CMS system. The city approved an increase of $10 million, which will allow us to add four new sites to the network. It is good but not nearly enough,’ says Erica Ford, CEO of LIFE Camp, Inc. and one of the architects of the New York City Crisis Management System. “The work we do is the solution, we need to invest in what works.”

The community-based organizations and partners that make up the crisis management system are the secret ingredients making a difference and this weekend’s results have proven yet again that our presence and contribution to the public safety of New York is very important. We create opportunities for our community members to take a proper seat at the table in all the discussions that impact them and their neighborhoods. With the proper funding, we can cover more precincts and the City can feel more confident about a path to bringing violence to an all-time low.”  AT Mitchell, Man Up, Inc. and one of the architects of the New York City Crisis Management System

For reference, the Independent Budget Office estimates that the NYPD will exceed its overtime cap by $400 million this fiscal year, bringing the city spending on overtime hours to $668 million in the 2021 budget. Overall, the CMS receives roughly ⅓ of a penny for every dollar the NYPD receives. 

The Crisis Management System is a network of 24 community sites working in collaboration with 60+ community based organizations and ten city agencies to co-produce public safety in New York City.

Gabrielle Marchan illustrates Dianne Morales for 360 MAGAZINE

Dianne Morales

As of late, one of our team members had the opportunity to sit down with New York City mayoral candidate Dianne Morales for an interview. After eight years under Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City will see someone new in the position in 2021, and Morales, a member of the Democratic Party, is jumping at the opportunity.

360: What are the major points of inspiration throughout your life, so far, that have led you to where you are today?

Morales: At my core is a commitment to community, and I learned community at home. I am the youngest of three girls and the daughter of Puerto Rican parents. My mother, a secretary for the Leather Workers’ Union, and my father, a building manager on the waterfront, created a working-class life for us in Bed-Stuy. But our home was not just for me and my sisters. My grandmother, Mami, lived with us my whole childhood. In fact, she and I shared a bed until the day that I left home for college. Our home was a resting place, a layover, a transition point for whoever needed it. There was always someone new sleeping on the couch or joining us at the dinner table. Whether they had just arrived from Puerto Rico, were in between jobs, had just returned from the military or from being incarcerated, there were always other people staying with us while they “got back on their feet.” My parents opened their arms and their front door to whoever needed it. I never questioned this way of life. I was taught, “If you have, then you provide.” We took care of each other. I saw, firsthand, the opportunity created when we each take responsibility, not just for ourselves, but for our neighbors and for our communities. This belief has spurred me on through 30 years in the public sector, as an educator, a foster care worker and a leader of nonprofits.

As I established my own home in Bed-Stuy as a single mom, my children and I recreated the dynamic my parents had built. We always have a few extra people living in our home – whom we often refer to as our “chosen family.” These extended family members have filled my home with love and reciprocal support. In a twist of fate, since the pandemic hit, I have shared my home with my parents and my children. I envision a New York City where we take care of each other, where everyone is welcome to the dinner table, where neighbors provide more support than extra sugar and all of us have a warm place to rest our heads. Although NYC is vast with diversity, we are all inextricably bound together and are only as strong as our most vulnerable link.

360: How can a mayor, as opposed to any other civic official, lead unique positive changes for equity?

Morales: Over the past several months there is a mantra I have been repeating consistently: a budget is a reflection of our values. The mayor has executive power over what gets funded in the city and by how much. Funding for services that contribute to true public safety (access to housing, medical/mental healthcare, economic stability, job training, education) will provide access and opportunity to those who have historically been left behind by our elected officials. Line by line, the budget reveals the values of a city and government. The NYC budget passed in June was a failure. It failed the residents of NYC, who have been raising their voices in protest and demanding a divestment from law enforcement since May 29. It failed those whose lives have been lost at the hands of the NYPD. It failed communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by violence and brutality.

The budget highlights the need for NYC leadership to put New Yorkers first by investing in communities. The NYC Mayor also has the ability to work to desegregate public schools and impact the quality of education provided to over 1.1 million students, many of whom are students of color living in poverty. This alters the course of a student’s life and provides an entry point to economic mobility and a true career trajectory. New Yorkers deserve a bold, transformational leader who is unapologetically committed to prioritizing justice in the budget’s bottom line. I fundamentally believe that those closest to the problem are closest to the solution. Our city needs a mayor that is in tune with her people and provides a vision for and direction for what is possible.

360: What are some of the most pressing or urgent issues that need attention within New York City, and how would you address them?

Morales: New York’s problems all stem from structural oppression by Race, Gender and Class, so our solutions must go deeper, all the way to the root causes. Too many New Yorkers are living in a time of scarcity, and that’s been going on since long before the virus hit. The are working two jobs, just barely surviving and always one misfortune away from losing everything. Instead of this “Scarcity Economy,” we need a “Solidarity Economy,” and that requires bold action. First, transforming public safety in the city by providing access to the same critical resources found in wealthy communities will be a critical step toward creating the long-term change we need for all to live in dignity. True public safety includes ensuring that every New Yorker has access to “life essentials,” like quality transportation, affordable housing, excellent and equal education and human-centered healthcare. All New Yorkers deserve access to these fundamental resources in order to live in dignity, and it is the necessary floor needed to break through glass ceilings.

Next, we must enhance and overhaul vital infrastructure requiring multi-part, creative solutions that address the deeper issues embedded in the fabric of NYC. To break the racist cycle of poverty that divides our city into the “haves” and the “have-nots,” we will establish a guaranteed minimum income. We will push for universal healthcare and eliminate inequities in the health system faced by women, and especially women of color. We will work to address the persistent segregation of our schools and disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline by replacing school safety officers with trained mental health professionals. The driving force behind all policy initiatives is the experiences, needs and voices of women of color. Particularly, Black women. As the Combahee River Collective wisely wrote in its 1977 statement, “If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression.” We know that if New York does right by Black women, the entire city will be better for it.

360: How can you use your personal experiences with serving as a single mother and observing the many other challenges that face New York City residents to enact policy reform?

Morales: So many of New York’s problems have impacted me directly, and so much of who I am and what I know comes from being a mom. My greatest joy is being the mother of my two children, Ben and Gabby. They constantly push me, teach me and nourish me. As a single parent, I share experiences with hundreds of thousands of other New Yorkers. A 2018 study found that single-parent households are the second largest household type in New York City. I navigated New York City’s systems – economic, health and education – on my own. I balanced a budget for my family each month, figuring out how to make it work. My greatest challenge was parenting my children through the NYC education system. The rigid and unforgiving education that my children received did not allow any space for their learning differences. They did not see themselves in the white-centric curriculum and we struggled to find support during their developmental years. Advocating for my children was a full-time job on top of my paying-full-time-job. Again and again I have stood with parents for a more equitable and life-affirming education for our kids. It is with this same community spirit of coalition building, advocacy and bettering of our social safety nets that I will push for policies that support all types of families in NYC.

360: What is one of the most significant components of your background or experiential knowledge that separates you from any other candidate?

Morales: I am, in so many ways, the average New Yorker. I was born and bred in Bed-Stuy. I am an Afro Latina single-mom of two children who survived the New York City public school system. I am a first generation college graduate who came back home to my city after school. I am a woman of color who discovered that I was not being paid the same as my white male counterparts. I’ve watched my neighborhood change, I’ve seen Starbucks replace the corner bodega, and I have spent my weekends marching side by side – 6 feet apart – with my fellow New Yorkers demanding justice for those killed at the hands of a racist policing system. Because I am the average New Yorker, my voice reflects the voices of thousands of others. We share our lived experiences, frustrations and joys. I love New York City because I see our full potential for all of us.

360: How does your previous extensive work with social service nonprofits inform your motivations and goals to serve as Mayor?

Morales: For decades, I worked within the community to address structural inequities burdening communities of color. I worked alongside those experiencing the symptoms of our broken system most acutely – poverty, lack of access to education, homelessness and mental health services. I witnessed firsthand the day-to-day struggles of New Yorkers that are perpetuated by cycles of poverty and oppression. I worked from the ground, up and from the inside, out. But as I hammered away, I recognized these structural and institutional barriers, and began to ask, “So how do we burn them down?” It felt as though I was only tinkering around the edges of the problem and providing Band-Aid solutions to deep, deep wounds. The core, perpetuating issues were centralized and foundational. I realized that if I want to create lasting, effective change, I must address these systemic and political problems at the root. As Mayor, I would carry with me the voices of those I have served.

360: In outlining your points of action and reform for New York City, how does the COVID-19 pandemic affect any of these potential strides for change?

Morales: As we know, COVID-19 is a catastrophe that illuminates all of the cracks and splinters in our broken systems. At first, many claimed the COVID-19 was a “great equalizer,” affecting all people, regardless of race, class or gender. Instead COVID-19 disproportionately impacts people of color and low-income communities. This is not a coincidence or personal failing, but rather the direct result of racist systems, putting structural oppression in stark relief. While some New Yorkers are able to escape crowded areas, arm themselves with personal protective equipment and work remotely, others, namely people of color, are on the front lines providing essential services to our city.

As COVID-19 has had devastating consequences that will leave a lasting impact for years to come, it has also provided us with a unique moment. As we saw after the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police, being homebound and isolated forces us to pay attention. We have paused. We have slowed down. With fewer distractions and a center of focus, folks all across the country have had the veil lifted. People are noticing the interconnected webs of oppression I have lived with and that I have been fighting to dismantle my entire life. In this moment, we need leaders in office who are of, by and for the movement for social change. There is a momentum and hunger for justice that can no longer be ignored. As we overcome the challenge of the disease, I will never let the city forget who is truly essential. Together we will create a world in which front-line workers are truly valued as indispensable. A world where we accompany our applause and platitudes with a livable wage, unquestionable dignity and real community power.

360: What are some of the most rewarding takeaways you have gained from leading several momentous organizations?

Morales: I’ve learned firsthand about the barriers and challenges that people have to overcome in order to gain access to opportunities that are alleged to be available to everyone. I also have watched as community members care for one another to bridge the gaps in access to those opportunities. This is testament to the power of our communities to be true partners in determining the solutions they face when given the resources to do so. Finally, I have been able to bear witness to what is possible when people finally gain access and opportunity and how that has the potential to change the trajectory of people’s lives and transform families and communities.

360: Regarding the national and global movement, Black Lives Matter, how will you utilize your unique identity to empower minorities in the City of New York?

Morales: Like many people of color, I have lived years of my life trying not to take up space. I have seen the ways that my identities – my Blackness, my Latina roots, my politics, my womanhood – make people, namely white people, uncomfortable. In these spaces I would constantly ask myself, “Do I seem too opinionated, too articulate, too aggressive?” I would contort and deflate myself to fit into tight corners and small boxes. I would shrink myself so that others could feel big. When making the decision to run for Mayor of NYC, I decided it was important for me to run as my full, unadulterated, unapologetic, multi-hyphenated self. There would be no more shrinking, questioning or self-doubt. I recognize that by the very nature of stepping into this space, I am opening up a path of possibility. As the first Afro-Latina running for mayor of New York City, I recognize the awesome responsibility I hold. I know that when I speak, unfairly or not, I am representing all Afro-Latina women. Missteps become mass stereotypes. Accolades become communal achievements.

This is both beautiful and deeply terrifying. But in moments of fear, I am guided by a greater purpose to bring with me those whom have been devalued and made to feel small, as I have been; to elevate the voices of those with shared experiences and claim our rightful place in democracy and representation in leadership. People like me, individuals and communities of color, women of color, we must be at the forefront of our politics and policies. I am deeply committed to divesting from racist systems and investing in Black and Brown communities. I am committed to reimagining public safety on our streets and in our schools. I am committed to shifting wealth opportunities to those who have been historically marginalized. I am committed to redressing and repairing the wounds of oppression that scar our city. I am in this race to stand taller in the face of a world that tells me to shrink. I am here to tell them that Black lives are beloved. We matter today and every day forward.

360: To all of the NYC citizens following your efforts to better numerous communities, what are some of the best ways individuals can support your campaign?

Morales: The best way to help me is to join the campaign with a small contribution. I am not a career politician, and unlike other candidates, I have not spent decades cultivating a war chest of people, networks and resources to kickstart my run for mayor. I want to be responsive to the people, not the special interests.. My campaign was born out of my home in Bed-Stuy, out of conversations with my neighbors, friends and colleagues. Our campaign is 100% powered by the people, not the 1%. We are an intersectional coalition of Black and Brown, Latinx, LGBTQIA and working class New Yorkers. We are backed by the people being hit the hardest at this moment in time. I am so incredibly humbled that in the middle of a pandemic, without employment, people are finding a way to donate to our campaign. I know what is at stake and the choices they have had to make to do so. If donating to our campaign is not possible for you during this financially uncertain time, we understand. Visit my website, dianne.nyc, for information and volunteer opportunities. Spread our mission to your fellow New Yorkers. Reach out to join our team. Remember me in November 2021.

To learn more about Dianne Morales, you can click right here. To learn more about her stances and solutions, you can click right here. To support Morales through donations, you can click right here. You can also support her on Twitter and Instagram.

Jaden Smith illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Jaden Smith × Vote for the Earth

Future Coalition, the creators of Earth Day Live, one of the largest digital mobilizations in history held in April 2020 that garnered 5 million views worldwide – announced the “Vote For the Earth” livestream series. The series unites Black and Indigenous youth leadership and calls on young people to tackle systems of oppression by turning out the vote in November. In partnership with Earth Guardians, We Stand United, Hip Hop Caucus and the International Indigenous Youth Council, the event will air on Future Live, Twitch, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. 

Vote For the Earth will reach a broad audience and leverage the best civic engagement technology and frontline and digital tactics to register new voters. It will encourage voters to access absentee ballots and to Vote For the Earth to build a sustainable future for the next seven generations. 

The livestream series features stories of power, resilience and movement-building on the ground from frontline community members, along with musical performances and speakers such as Jaden Smith and Van Jones. Speakers will share messages on the intersectionality of social justice and climate justice, while also sharing the many resources available from the climate movement. 

Vote For the Earth aims to contribute to a 55 percent youth voter turnout in the November election, while also aiming to reach 2 million Black and Indigenous youth eligible to vote. The series will also facilitate partnership building with Black and Indigenous organizers to diversify the climate movement and allow for partnerships with universities and organizations to register voters.

“Protecting our communities from systemic racism and violence and the climate emergency go hand in hand,” said Thomas Lopez, Partnerships Coordinator of the Climate Strikes with Future Coalition. “The youth vote is critical to turning the tide in the November presidential election, and Vote For the Earth will help us accomplish that.”

The 2-hour livestream will start at:

5 p.m. PST / 8 p.m. EST on Wednesday, August 12

To tune in, sign up at https://votefortheearth.us/

Featuring musical and spoken-word performances from artists involved in climate activism and social justice movements, including:

  • Xiuhtezcatl Martinez
  • Leala Pourier
  • Portugal the Man  
  • Zakaria Kronemer
  • Jasilyn Charger
  • Tokata Iron Eyes
  • Cody Looking Horse
  • Anjelah Johnson
  • The Grand Alliance – Sur Ellz , Kayla Marque & Crl Crrll
  • Van Jones
  • Simone Johnson
  • Reverend Lennox Yearwood
  • Kaylah Brathwaite
  • Jaden Smith
  • UMI
  • Supaman
  • Ayoni
  • Antoine Edwards & Nattaanii Means

The second and third livestreams of the series will air on September 16 and October 14. For more information, visit https://votefortheearth.us/

About March On: March On is a political organization composed of women-led political activist groups that grew out of the women’s marches of January 21, 2017. They have come together as a united force to take concrete, coordinated actions at the federal, state and local levels to impact elections and take our country in a better direction. March On is not affiliated with Women’s March, Inc. For more information, visit wearemarchon.org

About Future Coalition: Founded by youth activists for youth activists, Future Coalition is a network and community for youth-led organizations and Gen Z and young millennial leaders from across the country that came into being as a project of March On in the fall of 2018. The Future Coalition works collaboratively to provide young people with the resources, tools, and support they need to create the change they want to see in their communities and in this country. For more information, visit futurecoalition.org

About Earth Guardians: Earth Guardians began in 1992 as an accredited high school in Maui, Hawaii, focusing on environmental awareness and social justice issues. Seeing the need to empower and amplify the voice of a wider audience,Since then, Earth Guardians has become a global movement providing a platform for hundreds of youth crews in over 60 countries to engage in some of the greatest issues we face as a global community. Earth Guardians continues to inspire and train diverse youth to be effective leaders within the climate justice and environmental movement worldwide. For more information, visit https://www.earthguardians.org/.

About International Indigenous Youth Council: The International Indigenous Youth Council (IIYC) is a social justice non-profit that serves Indigenous and POC youth in their journeys as young leaders. IIYC provides education-based resources and training in direct action, resistance art, spiritual practice and civic engagement. IIYC was started and led by womxn and two-spirit peoples during the Standing Rock Indigenous Uprising of 2016 while peacefully protecting the Cannonball and Missouri Rivers against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. In 2017 IIYC extended the reach of the organization through a chapter model which serves youth across Turtle Island in areas including Chicago, Denver, New Mexico, Southern California, South Dakota, Texas (Yanaguana Chapter), Twin Cities Minnesota and Washington DC. The IIYC is a completely youth-led organization serving young people up to the age of 30. For more information, visit https://indigenousyouth.org/.

About We Stand United: We Stand United is an organization of award-winning artists, activists, political strategists and communications experts working together to protect our democracy and to advance social, economic, and environmental justice across the United States. https://wsucampaign.org/.

About Hip Hop Caucus: We link culture and policy to make our movements bigger, more diverse, and more powerful. We exist for everyone who identifies with Hip Hop culture to come together for positive change. Being part of Hip Hop Caucus means you can use your cultural expression to shape your political experience. For more information, visit https://hiphopcaucus.org/.

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Kicking a Soccer Ball illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

U.S. Soccer Foundation – 300 Mini-Pitches

300 Mini-Pitches from the U.S. Soccer Foundation Bring Soccer to Underserved Communities Research shows youth sports improve physical and mental health as well as academic performance in communities hit hardest by COVID-19 July 27, 2020 U.S. Soccer Foundation As a traumatic pandemic continues to grip much of America, particularly communities of color, efforts are underway to ensure that children and families across the country have positive recreational opportunities to look forward to when they return to school and play. 

The U.S. Soccer Foundation, with the support of its partners, this week reached an important milestone with the installation of the 300th mini-pitch in underserved communities nationwide since 2015. Through a collaborative effort with local governments, youth organizations, school districts, and companies of all sizes, the U.S. Soccer Foundation has continued installing mini-pitches during the pandemic, fulfilling a long-term commitment to children living in underserved communities. 

These communities are the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and will be the slowest to recover, which underscores the importance of these investments. “The trauma that young people in underserved communities face from this pandemic, from the loss of lives to family member’s loss of jobs to the closure of schools and community centers, has been profound,” U.S. Soccer Foundation President & CEO Ed Foster-Simeon said. 

“This is an unprecedented escalation in the already challenging circumstances that young people live with, day after day.” “The U.S. Soccer Foundation and our partners are sending a very real message to young people and their families through these projects: We are here for you. We continue to ensure that when communities are ready, more mini-pitches will be there for play.” The U.S. Soccer Foundation’s mini-pitch initiative is responding to a significant challenge faced by youth in underserved communities—a critical shortage of safe places to play.

Since 2015, the Foundation has worked with partners to install mini-pitches in more than 200 communities across the United States and more mini-pitches are on the way. The Foundation plans to install more than 100 in the next year, with a goal of creating a total of 1,000 mini-pitches coast to coast by 2026. With safe surfaces and high-quality lighting, these mini-pitches serve as an ideal place for both pick-up games and free play, as well as high-quality programming, including the Foundation’s Soccer for Success program. 

Mini-pitches fit into urban environments or other areas where space is at a premium, providing a safe place for kids to play and for community members to gather right in their neighborhoods. Corporations including Target, Adidas, and Major League Soccer and its clubs are national partners in this initiative and have partnered with the Foundation on hundreds of mini-pitches to date. Last September, Musco Lighting partnered with the U.S. Soccer Foundation to update the mini-pitch with a new modular system including lights, fencing, and goals. On average, these lighted mini-pitches add 2.75 hours of playing time per day on each pitch. 

Although participation in youth sports is associated with better health and academic achievement, more than 80 percent of children living in households making less than $25,000 miss out on the benefits of team sports. Furthermore, one in three Americans don’t have a park within a 10-minute walk from home, leaving too many kids without access to a soccer program or safe place for free play. To address these barriers, the Foundation and its partners have committed to increasing access to quality youth development programming and creating 1,000 new mini-pitches nationwide. In addition to providing access, the creation of mini-pitches has lasting community benefits: 98% of communities report that the people in their community are more active and feel safer with the addition of a mini-pitch. 

Further, soccer mini-pitches serve as neighborhood gathering places for families, and nearly one-third of the kids who come to play on them are new to soccer. To learn more about the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s work to make soccer everyone’s game, visit itseveryonesgame.org

The U.S. Soccer Foundation’s programs are the national model for sports-based youth development in underserved communities. Since its founding in 1994, the Foundation has established programs proven to help children embrace an active and healthy lifestyle while nurturing their personal growth beyond sports. Its cost-effective, high-impact initiatives offer safe environments where kids and communities thrive. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Soccer Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization.

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Octavia Spencer illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Octavia Spencer × Ruderman Family Foundation

Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer today joined the Ruderman Family Foundation in calling on the entertainment industry to increase the casting of people with disabilities, including in on-screen roles that portray characters with disabilities.

“Casting able-bodied actors in roles for characters with disabilities is offensive, unjust, and deprives an entire community of people from opportunities,” Octavia Spencer says in a new public service announcement with the Ruderman Family Foundation

Appearing in a newly released public service announcement, Spencer recounts Hollywood’s long history of inauthentic representation and exclusion of marginalized populations — from men playing women until 1660; to white actors playing Black, Asian, and Native American characters; to LGBTQ stories getting left out of film and television until the last two decades.

“All of these communities of people had to endure not only their stories being told inauthentically, but also seeing themselves portrayed inauthentically,” says Spencer in a message filmed for the Ruderman Family Foundation. “But nothing can replace lived experience and authentic representation. That’s why it’s imperative that we cast the appropriate actor for the appropriate role, and that means people with disabilities as well. Casting able-bodied actors in roles for characters with disabilities is offensive, unjust, and deprives an entire community of people from opportunities.”

She continues, “I am joining with the Ruderman Family Foundation to call on the entertainment industry to increase casting of people with disabilities. There is no reason that we should continue to repeat the same mistakes of the past. Together, we should and can do better.”

Spencer’s call amplifies the Foundation’s series of initiatives to foster greater inclusion in the entertainment industry.

Last December, the organization circulated an open letter calling on studio, production, and network executives to pledge to create more opportunities for people with disabilities, and to make more inclusive casting decisions. Among those who signed the pledge were Oscar winners George Clooney and Joaquin Phoenix, Oscar nominees Ed Norton, Bryan Cranston and Mark Ruffalo, Golden Globe winner Glenn Close, Oscar-winning director Peter Farrelly, accomplished actress Eva Longoria, and acclaimed filmmaker Bobby Farrelly.

A separate Foundation-initiated pledge to commit to auditioning more actors with disabilities was signed by CBS, while the BBC pledged to implement more authentic and distinctive representation of people with disabilities on screen. The Foundation also released a white paper showing that half of U.S. households want accurate portrayals of characters with disabilities, and despite that only 22% of characters with disabilities are authentically portrayed on television.

“As an Oscar-winning actor, Octavia Spencer embodies Hollywood’s vast potential to serve as a powerful catalyst for positive social change if studio, production, and network executives commit to more inclusive and authentic representation,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “We are gratified that Ms. Spencer has joined our call and we look forward to have other actors and actresses, filmmakers, producers and studios continue to create unprecedented momentum that brings about greater casting of people with disabilities.”

To view Octavia Spencer’s video message in full, please see here.

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Groceries illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Feed Your City Challenge L.A.

The Feed Your City Challenge – founded by retired NBA star, Ricky Davis, and music industry legend, Tony Draper – will make the fifth stop on its nationwide campaign to combat the COVID-19 pandemic July 25th in the parking lot of the Baldwin Hills Mall at 2 pm PST. LA natives, Grammy award-winning multi-platinum producer Mustard, platinum-selling singer Jhene Aiko and Grammy award-winning artist Roddy Ricch, alongside local city leaders, will help serve the community fresh groceries and PPE items until supplies run out.   

Feed Your City Challenge has provided fresh groceries and essential PPE supplies for up to 10,000 community members via non-contact drive-thru lanes, following all CDC social distancing guidelines. The organization has produced community-driven events in cities across the country and served tens of thousands of people impacted by the coronavirus. Los Angeles will join the growing list of cities receiving support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.   

With a simple mission statement, ‘to serve underserved communities, ‘Feed Your City Challenge’ will continue feeding those in need and challenge more cities to join. Previous events around the country included Norfolk, VA with recording artist Pusha T; Petersburg VA with recording artist Trey Songz; Brooklyn, NY with music executive Steven Victor in honor of Pop-Smoke; and Oakland, CA with Grammy award-winning (and Oscar-nominated), producer/singer/songwriter Raphael Saadiq. 

Challenge is focused on providing underserved and underprivileged community members with healthy fresh groceries, meat, and essential PPE supplies. The organization plans to produce these challenges throughout the country and spread their message for the betterment of families.  

July 25th at 2 pm PST at Baldwin Hills Mall (3650 W Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90008) 

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Community illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

Renewal Award Winners 

A global pandemic. Racial injustice. Extreme political polarization. In an incredibly challenged moment for the country, extraordinary people in communities across America are working tirelessly to light the way forward. Community-based organizations have become essential lifelines, which is why five nonprofits that represent the brightest lights were chosen as recipients of this year’s Renewal Awards.

The Renewal Awards, presented by The Atlantic and Allstate, is a national competition recognizing organizations that use innovative solutions to create lasting change in their communities. This year’s winners are the 5th class of award recipients and were selected from more than 13,000 nominations. Each winner receives a $40,000 grant to amplify their mission of helping others, along with national recognition that elevates their profile and awareness for their work.

Despite facing significant funding and staffing challenges in this unprecedented year, the winning organizations continue to stay relentlessly focused on the most pervasive and systemic challenges affecting society—homelessness, educational equity, skills and job training, and children and families in need. Each organization serves different needs, but all are united by a core belief that defines our times—no matter who we are, we can lift each other up in times of need.

2020 WINNERS

  • Choose 180 (Burien, WA): Engages youth in critical moments and empowers them to make positive changes in their lives, especially when facing jail time or school expulsion. *Allstate Youth Empowerment Award Winner.
  • College to Congress (Washington, D.C.): Levels the playing field and fosters bipartisanship for congressional interns, providing both financial support and mentorship across the aisle.
  • Facing Homelessness (The BLOCK Project) (Seattle, WA): Integrates 125-square-foot detached accessory dwelling units in residential backyards to reduce homelessness.
  • Hello Neighbor (Pittsburgh, PA): Supports recently resettled refugees with mentorship, educational training, and community events.
  • More Than Words (Waltham, MA): Empowers youth who are in foster care, court-involved, homeless, or out of school by helping to run a bookstore.

The Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein writes about the work of this year’s winners, and the larger story they tell about the country, in a piece published today: “Real Reform Comes From Civic Stamina”. “We are proud to continue this critical partnership with Allstate, especially during the unprecedented events dramatically affecting all communities across the country,” said Hayley Romer, The Atlantic’s Publisher and CRO. “The generous spirit and relentless work modeled by these community leaders is inspiring and driving the progress we need.”

“2020 has changed our way of life, yet these five organizations continue to find ways to serve others despite the enormous challenges they face,” explained Stacy Sharpe, Allstate’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Brand. “These amazing community leaders should remind us all that anything is possible when you know your purpose and have the passion to create a lasting impact.”

Finalists were selected by The Atlantic’s editors and writers. Winners were evaluated by a panel of judges who include former Mayors Rahm Emanuel (Chicago) and Karen Freeman-Wilson (Gary, IN); Anne Marie Burgoyne, managing director of social innovation at Emerson Collective; Kate Nack, director of The Allstate Foundation; former Rep. Carlos Curbelo (Florida); and two past Renewal Award winners, Juedy Mom, director of The Compton Initiative, and Pamela Urquieta, CEO and Executive director of Let’s Innovate Through Education. Allstate selected the Youth Empowerment Award winner.

Started in 2015, The Renewal Awards spotlight grassroots solutions to challenges faced by communities around the country and the people making a positive difference. The awards are the flagship initiative of The Renewal Project, The Atlantic and Allstate’s broader partnership that covers innovation and celebrates change-makers in local communities. With this year’s award, 31 organizations have received more than $800,000 in funding from The Atlantic and Allstate to further their work. To learn more about the awards, and read about past winners, please visit TheRenewalProject.com.

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