Expanding on the Miné Okubo Collection, history and the arts, and social justice in the Inland Empire…

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Center Screens “Skydancer” on April 2nd!


A visually stunning portrait of the individuals who raised America’s steel landscapes

For more than a century, Mohawk ironworkers have helped build skyscrapers and bridges throughout the U.S. and Canada. These ‘sky walkers,’ fearlessly balancing atop foot-wide steel beams high above the city streets, have constructed some of America’s most prominent landmarks, including the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the George Washington Bridge, the World Trade Center, and One World Trade Center.

Skydancer – a film by Katja Esson

The Mohawk tradition of ironworking began in the mid-1880s, when men from the Kahnawake Reservation near Montreal were hired as laborers to build a bridge over the St. Lawrence River onto Mohawk land. They quickly earned a reputation of being fearless on high steel, and began commuting to New York City to work on large-scale building projects. Today, according to the union, there are about 200 Mohawk ironworkers in the New York area. Most still travel home to Canada on weekends after working in the city during the week, leading double lives in many ways.

Through archival documents and interviews, the film takes a provocative look at the juxtaposition of life “on the Rez” and in the sky.  Join us at the First Thursday Arts Walk for a screening of this nuanced exploration of modern Native American life!

Skydancer – a film by Katja Esson

The 75-minute film will be screened on Thursday, April 2nd at 6:00pm and again at 7:45pm in the Center’s media vault. This event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. Please contact the Center today to reserve your spot: socialjustice@rccd.edu, or (951) 222-8846.

The Arts Walk film series continues on May 7th with Anna May Wong: In Her Own Words in honor of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month and on June 4th with Stonewall Uprising in observance of the anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

This post was contributed by volunteer Danielle Sanchez.


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The Racial Climate in Riverside: 1965 and 2015

No Easy Way Cover

As part of the Inlandia Institute’s launch of No Easy Way: Integrating Riverside Schools – A Victory for Community, the Center will be hosting a Community Conversation panel on Saturday, March 28th from 1-3pm. No Easy Way is a local story of national significance telling the tale of the voluntary integration of Riverside’s schools in 1965. It vividly depicts a turning point in the region’s history, when an unknown arsonist burned down Riverside’s majority-African American Lowell School. At the same time, African American parents were petitioning the School Board for integration. These events set in motion a crisis that gripped the community just 20 days after the upheaval of the Watts rebellion. No Easy Way was written by Arthur L. Littleworth, the President of the RUSD Board at the time of the crisis.

Presented by The Press-Enterprise, UCR, and the City of Riverside, this panel will explore “The Racial Climate in Riverside: 1965 and 2015,” and feature the following speakers:

  • Kathy Allavie, Board Member, Riverside Unified School District
  • Bill Medina, Adjunct Professor of History, Riverside City College and San Bernardino Valley College
  • Dell Roberts, Retired Administrator, Riverside Unified School District
  • Wanda Scruggs, Retired Director of Development, UCR Libraries

Moderator: Hillary Jenks, Director, Center for Social Justice and Civil Liberties

The Community Conversation Series will continue in the months to come with these additional gatherings:

Issues of Integration and Resegregation in Education
April 30, 6pm, UCR Theatre

Results of Integration in Education: Locally and Nationally
May 30, 1pm, Cesar Chavez Community Center at Bobby Bonds Park

Effect of School Integration on Riverside Housing and Neighborhoods
June 18, 6pm, Grier Pavilion at Riverside City Hall

No Easy Way
is available at the Riverside Public Library, for sale online, and at local bookstores. This project was made possible with support from Cal Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit http://www.calhum.org.

This post was contributed by student worker Cynthia Mosley.