Celebrating Black music, Latino filmmakers and the life of George Floyd in this week’s ‘Things to Do’

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George Floyd mural in LA

A man with a face covering walks past a mural depicting George Floyd during a protest over the killing of Floyd Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

In the wake of the protests against police brutality and the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, publishing the usual version of ‘Things To Do’ just didn’t feel right. So in the spirit of the ideals that peaceful protesters stand for – a version of America where Black lives matter and police are truly community-based and protect and serve, we offer this week some options for those who want to be a part of the solution. June is also Black Music Month and Pride month, so we have some information on both, as well as a local film festival that goes forward online.

Faith and healing

Religious leaders from a diverse variety of faiths will gather on Thursday, June 4 at 5:30 p.m. for ‘Bearing Witness: A Space to Mourn and Hope’ to provide healing and reflection on the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others and the impact those tragedies have had on the nation. Sponsored by Interfaith Philadelphia, a group that advocates for religious tolerance and acceptance, the webinar is free and open to the public with registration required.

Grace in giving

Whether you can give your money or your time, here’s a list of some local and national organizations where you can make a difference.

If you want to help organizations in need on the ground in Minneapolis, Minn., click here and here.

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You can donate money or food, volunteer and/or host a Facebook fundraiser for the anti-hunger organization.

Mothers In Charge
A Philadelphia based anti-violence organization that offers counseling, support and advocacy for families impacted by violence. You can donate or volunteer.

City Year
An organization for youth 18-25 who perform service is still taking applications despite COVID-19. Applicants must be willing to serve, must be U.S citizens or permanent residents, and must have completed high school or earned a GED, among other criteria.

215 People’s Alliance
A local grassroots organization composed of parents, teachers, students, union members, block captains and more that advocates for equity and justice in Philadelphia.

Kindness of Strangers
A COVID-19 inspired site that matches volunteers with those who need specific help – including conversation, connection or specific expertise.

Showing Up For Racial Justice
National anti-racism organization to move white people to act in solidarity to help achieve racial justice.

Amistad Law Project
The organization represents and advocates for those incarcerated in Pennsylvania’s prison system.

Philly Urban Creators
A food, art and education organization that oversees an urban farm/park/community space in North Central Philadelphia.

Philly Achievement Academy
A mentoring program for Black young men and men of color from 9-18, sponsored by the African American Greek letter organization Kappa Alpha Psi, which has its national headquarters in Philadelphia.

American Red Cross
As June marks the beginning of hurricane season, the agency is doing a blood drive as they’ve been faced with a shortage due to COVID-19. They have put procedures in place to do so safely.

Color of Change
The nation’s largest online racial justice organization impacts policy for governments and corporations.

When We All Vote
Bipartisan voting organization co-founded by Michelle Obama, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jennifer Anniston, Tom Hanks and others.

Partnership for Working Families
A national group that advocates for equality and justice for American worker in partnership with other agencies.

Poor People’s Campaign
A national social justice and advocacy organization, they are hosting a virtual march on Washington on Saturday, June 20. For a list of the partner organizations they work with, click here.

Campaign Zero
An advocacy group to end police brutality via changing laws and policy.

NAACP Legal Defense Fund
The national advocacy organization fights for racial justice.

Latin movie nights

The Philadelphia Latino Film Festival will go on this year – online. Film screenings, panels, special events and more will take place from June 4-7. This year’s theme is intersectionality – between the LGBT, undocumented, immigrant and Afro-Latinx communities. The festival includes screenings of award-winning LGBT films, filmmaker discussions on undocumented filmmakers, how producers can impact the creation of Afro-Latinx characters, and more.

Musical healing

June is Black Music Month. We have a strong musical legacy in the Philadelphia area from the classic Philadelphia International label, co-founded by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, to DJ Jazzy Jeff, Will Smith, Jill Scott, trombonist Jeff Bradshaw and more. Gamble and local radio personality/cultural critic Dyana Williams were instrumental in crafting the presidential decree that formalized the annual celebration in 1979. (As per Barack Obama, it is now officially African American Music Month, but either way, it’s a celebration). Given the spirit of the times, we’ve created a Black Music Month playlist, not meant to be definitive, but hopefully healing.

Royal birthday

On Sunday, Prince would have celebrated his 62nd birthday. It’s hard to believe he’s been gone for four years. As a son of Minneapolis and one who was socially conscious in his music and lent his money and talent to social justice issues, it’s sad that he’s not here to contribute to some healing in the George Floyd killing. But given that it’s Black Music Month, acknowledging his vast musical legacy is appropriate. “Let’s Go Crazy: The Grammy Salute to Prince” aired in April on CBS and is available on demand.  Here’s a playlist of some of Prince’s most thoughtful and inspirational songs.

Keep checking with “Things To Do” as we continue to provide our picks for entertainment and culture during the industry’s COVID-19 hiatus. Please consult our coronavirus updates to keep up with the latest information regionally.

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