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Jun 22, 2017

Catalyzing Change & Applying the Politics of Compassion

One of our youth performing at our Summer Showcase
One of our youth performing at our Summer Showcase

In our work and in our living, we must recognize that difference is a reason for celebration and growth, rather than a reason for destruction.” — Audre Lorde

Everyday, our youth never cease to amaze us and everyday, we are grateful to serve them. Moreover, our youth are promoting unity, peace, and non-violence, even in wake of contentious political times. Now that summer is officially here, we are excited to share with you our progress, events, and future endeavors at One Common Unity.

Recently, One Common Unity Board Members met with Senator Cory Booker to discuss ways to integrate more social-emotional learning into schools around the country. We thank his Chief of Staff, Matt Klapper and his team for helping us to set up this meeting. We are super excited to be having Senator Booker join us as a keynote speaker in the near future at our Gala!

On Thursday, June 15th, One Common Unity hosted our “Fly By Light Summer Youth Showcase” at the Gala Hispanic Theatre. The event was a success, with a jam-packed and sold-out audience of 250+ people. Our youth put on a fantastic performance, showcasing their creativity through poetry, dance and music. Our headliners included D.C.’s finest, Huda Asfour and Princess Best. To see highlights and photos from the Summer Showcase, please visit One Common Unity's Facebook page. While we were gearing up for the Showcase, One Common Unity was also featured in The Huffington Post! You can read the article here.

Also, we are continuing our bi-weekly, all-city Youth Open Mic Program at BloomBars. The open mics continue to be a hit amongst our youth, as they are constantly participating and sharing their art. You can check out some photos from the BloomBars’ open mics below.

We are also super excited for our upcoming event, “Beats Pray Love: Live DJ Flow for One Common Unity” on Saturday, July 15th! The event will include a powerful, beats-driven yoga practice by master teacher Mimi Rieger and DJ StraySolo at The Loft at Lululemon Georgetown. 100% of the proceeds of this class will go to One Common Unity. If you are in the D.C. area and would like to attend, ticket information is here.

Our “Fly By Light” film was recently accepted into the 2017 Peekskill Film Festival, which will be held from July 27-30 in Hudson, New York! Founded in 2015, the Peekskill Film Festival (PFF) screens a first-rate mix of features, shorts, documentaries, animation, and more. As well as screening the best and brightest in indie film, the PFF hosts workshops with Emmy-Award winning artists and filmmakers, parties, panel discussions, and an entire day dedicated to student film and animation.

Finally, we are gearing up for our Fly By Light alumni retreat, where previous Fly By Light participants will be reunited for the first time in five years. Our staff and program facilitators are excited to see how much progress we have made with our programs. We want to give you all a HUGE thank you for constantly contributing, supporting and believing in the vision and mission of One Common Unity! Stay tuned for more updates as we keep spreading light and positivity in all that we do!

OCU Board Members meet with Senator Cory Booker.
OCU Board Members meet with Senator Cory Booker.
One of our youth performing at our Showcase.
One of our youth performing at our Showcase.
One of our youth performing at Bloombars.
One of our youth performing at Bloombars.
Participants at Summer Showcase.
Participants at Summer Showcase.
One of our youth performing at Showcase.
One of our youth performing at Showcase.

Links:

Mar 24, 2017

Springing into Spring - Project Update

Winter Group shot
Winter Group shot

When you channel your energy in a positive direction, the results can be incredible. And this winter time was a great one for us here at One Common Unity.

This winter two of our staff members traveled to present at SXSWedu in Austin, TX. There we screened the Fly By Light documentary film and led a workshop dialouge on the power of teaching non-violence through the arts. Thousands of educators, teachers, and administrators from around the country attend this conference to learn about the most innovative approaches to education. We all left with our hearts and minds filled - with great ideas on how to improve our respective programs and communities!

Shortly before SXSWedu we had the youth of the Fly By Light program converge at the Source Theater in Washington, DC.  The youth prepared for months to get ready for the big stage. A captive audience sat at the edge of their seats as youth from our various high school sites around the city shared their stories through poetry, song, dance, and film. Some clips of those youth performances from that evening are here for you to watch at the link HERE.

In addition to continuing our regular after-school programming at our various schools, in January 2017 we started a bi-weekly ALL-CITY Youth open mic program.  In partnership with BloomBars, once every two weeks, we are holding a safe and creative space for youth to come together and share their art. This has become an instant hit amongst our teens. You can see the image of our promotional flyer for this important event in the image below.

Finally, we are in full planning for the our upcoming overnight retreats. Our staff and facilitators are working hard to grow our program this summer to include (in addition to our youth retreat) a retreat for educators and a retreat for parents. Stay tuned for more updates on this magical work that you are making possible!

Performances from the Winter Arts Youth Showcase
Performances from the Winter Arts Youth Showcase
Nardia & Delvin pause for camera after performance
Nardia & Delvin pause for camera after performance
A poster for our bi-weekly Youth Open Mic
A poster for our bi-weekly Youth Open Mic
On a field trip
On a field trip
Presenting at the SXSWedu conference
Presenting at the SXSWedu conference

Links:

Dec 12, 2016

Winner of the Mayor's Arts Award!

Receiving the prestigious Mayor's Arts Award!
Receiving the prestigious Mayor's Arts Award!

We Won An Award!!

On Thursday, September 22nd, One Common Unity received the Mayor's Arts Award for Excellence in the Humanities!
This is one of the most prestigious awards given to a non-profit organization working in Washington, D.C.

We thank Mayor Muriel Bowser, 
The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Council Members, Commissioners, Donors, and all of our board members, staff, facilitators, and volunteers who made receiving this honor possible. In addition, of course we are most grateful to be able to receive this award on behalf of all they youth in our program. Their tremendous resilience, creativity, and art was the driving force behind us winning the award.

Peace Ride
Also, in October, we had over 50 participants take part in our 1st Annual Peace Ride event. The youth rode bikes down the C&O Canal (national park) while the adult riders cycled all the way from D.C. to Harpers Ferry, Virgina. In total, 
approximately 1,180 miles were traversed to promote peace and healing
in our communities.
As we prepare to close out the year we are thankful to have 7 STRONG school-based program sites, engaged students who are participating in weekly after-school programming and dynamic field trips over the weekend.
 
Please like our Facebook page & continue to follow us online to see how your donations support our arts-based peace education programs!
After the Award Ceremony
After the Award Ceremony
One of the Performances during the Ceremony
One of the Performances during the Ceremony
The Peace Ride
The Peace Ride
 
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