Spectrum Dance Theater and Crosscut Community Panel Series
As part of Spectrum’s 2016-17 Season: American – Identity, Race, or Culture?
Why aren’t the voices of immigrants and people of color louder? How can we, as citizens, help elevate these voices? As part of Spectrum Dance Theater’s quest to “make the invisible, visible,” join them, along with Crosscut, for a community event aimed at elevating the voices of American immigrants. The event will be part panel, and part open dialogue. Its goal is for attendees to have the opportunity to listen and engage with immigrant leaders in the arts, technology, education and cultural sectors of Seattle. We will discuss how, as a community, we can disrupt systems that perpetuate cycles of oppression against immigrants and people of color.
Bookda Gheisar has over 30 years of experience as an executive and policy advocate at high-profile organizations advocating for systemic policy change to advocate for the rights of communities. Her entire career has been devoted to working alongside organizations committed to fighting inequities and injustice, using equity, justice and inclusion lenses. Bookda is currently working as a consultant with a focus on promoting equity and social justice through providing coaching and consulting to nonprofit, for profit, and philanthropic organizations and leaders. She most recently worked as Lead facilitator, in collaboration with the Office of Equity and Social Justice and the Immigrant and Refugee Task Force, charged with developing recommendations for how King County can improve equity and outcomes for communities. This process included Strategic input and hands-on assistance to carry out more than 20 community input meetings reaching 500 people over six weeks. The final report from this process has been well received by King County, and has already resulted in a commitment by King County Executive Dow Constantine to provide the staffing and budgetary resources needed for a permanent commission that can act as a regional hub to spur collective impact. Bookda was the Founding Executive Director of Global Washington and prior to that, was the Executive Director of Social Justice Fund.
Jacque Larrainzar, LGBTQ Human Rights Artivist, has served on the boards of many LGBTQ organizations and helped start UNID@S a Latino LGBT Human Rights National Organization. Most recently she helped get started a national effort to create the first online resource catalogue for LGBTQ asylum seekers and is now an advisor for Asylum connect.org, She is also a member of the World LGBTQ Refugee Congress a group that advices the United Nations Human Rights Commission on issues related to LGBTQ refugees around the world. Last year she received awards from Seattle Counseling Services and Seattle Social Outreach for the work in the immigrant, refugee and undocumented LGBTQ communities.
Born and raised in Tehran, Iran, Maryam Pedraza has always been a storyteller. Personally, she shares her life stories about war, immigration, and the Iranian-American dream. Professionally, as an Associate Communications Officer at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, she shares stories about the belief that all lives have equal value. Academically, she holds a Master’s Degree in Professional Communication from Westminster College, where she worked on a book of essays called Persianality as part of her thesis project. Passionate about peace and understanding, Maryam believes in mobilizing the community to bring about change and progress. She recently served as a board member and volunteer for the Iranian American Community Alliance here in Seattle, and the Women’s Leadership Council for the United Way of Salt Lake.
Graciela Nunez, originally from Caracas, Venezuela, was raised in the historic Little Havana neighborhood of Miami, Florida. The experience of growing up alongside Cuban refugees and Latin American immigrants made her realize that these communities were often ignored and their issues went unaddressed at the national level. Graciela moved to Seattle, Washington halfway through her junior year of high school and attended Interlake High School in Bellevue. She recently graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and worked for the Hillary Clinton and Washington State Democrats campaigns as a Field Organizer in South King County. Graciela currently works as a Session Aide with the Racial Equity Team in the Washington State Legislature.
This event is in anticipation of Spectrum Dance Theater’s Rambunctious Iteration #3 – The Immigrants (March 2-5) which showcases classical music by American-immigrant composers from Mexico, Iran, Cuba, China and Russia. Now in its third year, the Rambunctious series are dedicated to elevating voices who are not given due visibility in mainstream American arts. Choreography by Artistic Director Donald Byrd and music by live guest artists.