Detroit-based nonprofit Allied Media Projects is focusing on the theme Bloom for its Spring 2021 Speaker Series. Kicking off tomorrow, the series’ four virtual events — held every other Thursday through mid-June — will bring together community organizers, artists, and more to highlight and discuss young people who are making a difference, undocumented immigrants who are leading organizing efforts, ancestral ceremonial practices, and artistic collaboration.
“The last 13 months have scared, challenged, and inspired us,” says Brenda Hernandez, events manager of the Allied Media Projects Speaker Series, in a press release. “We’re excited for the Spring Speaker Series to showcase the liberation work our communities have been doing for decades, which has seeded growth within this moment and possibility for the future. We are ready to Bloom.”
The topic for the April 29 event is Youth Power. Celebrating young media makers, the event will feature Melissa Regalado and Vanessa Sanchez of the National Museum of Mexican Art’s youth program Yollocalli Arts Reach; community organizer and abolitionist Adrienne Ayers; and Nia Barnes, an aspiring screenwriter and member of Detroit’s Afrofuture Youth organization.
On May 13, immigrant leaders — including Patrice Lawrence, who is the co-director of UndocuBlack Network, an organization of current and formerly undocumented Black people, and Jennicet Gutiérrez, a transgender and immigrant rights advocate who serves as a national organizer for the Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement group — will join the hosts of Chicago-based culture podcast AirGo in a conversation called Undocumented & Unafraid. The event will be recorded and re-aired as a part of a future episode of AirGo.
The May 27 event is called Ancestral Ceremonies. During the event, Lead to Life, a community organization led by Black and queer artists, healers, and ecologists that focuses on bridging racial and environmental justice, will premiere its new ritual film, between starshine and clay. Guests will explore the practice of honoring the land and our ancestors through ceremonies.
Then on June 10, Allied Media Projects will present an event called Deep Work. The event will feature a discussion between Detroit-based producer Sterling Toles and rapper Boldy James, who worked together on the 2020 album Manger on Nichols. Participants will also watch excerpts from Story of Manger on McNichols: Boldy James and Sterling Toles, a documentary about that duo that was produced and directed by Khary Frazier, founder of online magazine Detroit is Different.
All four events take place at 5 p.m. on their respective days. American Sign Language, speech-to-text, and live Spanish translation services are available. Those interested in attending can register in advance online at no cost.
Allied Media Projects, which is known for its annual Allied Media Conference, held its first Speaker Series last year. Because of the overwhelming response to the events — more than 800 people watched live or watched the recorded version — the organization decided to host the series biannually.
“Our twice-annual Speaker Series provides a platform for movement builders, organizers, and visionary artists to share their transformative organizing efforts and engage in dialogue with our communities,” says Nandi Comer, director of the Allied Media Projects Speakers Bureau, in a press release. “The series will invoke some of the magical, vibrant, and joyous energy that the Allied Media Conference is known for, allowing us to nourish our connections in a new way throughout the year.”
For more information, visit alliedmedia.org/bloom.