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

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Special Screenings of HAFU on Sunday May 10th!


Japan, a place that once proudly proclaimed itself a mono-ethnic nation, is now home to many hafus, a Japanese term for people who are half-Japanese. According to the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, one in forty-nine babies born in Japan today are born into families with one non-Japanese parent. Hafu: The Mixed-Race Experience in Japan follows the unfolding journey of many of these mixed-race Japanese and their multicultural experience in modern day Japan.

The documentary follows the lives of five hafu. For some, Japan is the only home they know; for others, living in Japan is a whole new experience. These five individuals and their families live complicated issues of race, diversity, multiculturalism, nationality, and identity on a daily basis, writing new answers to the questions “What does it mean to be hafu?,” “What does it mean to be Japanese?,” and ultimately, “What does all of this mean for Japan?”

The film is narrated by the hafus themselves, and includes candid interviews and cinéma vérité footage. The viewer is guided through a mosaic of hafu experiences influenced by upbringing, family relationships, education, and even physical appearance. The audience will discover the depth and diversity of hafus’ personal identities as the film interweaves these five unique life experiences.

In partnership with Riverside City College and UCR Extension’s International Education Programs, the Center is pleased to host screenings of Hafu: The Mixed-Race Experience in Japan at 1:00pm, 3:00pm, and 5:00pm on Sunday, May 10th. This event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. Please reserve a space at http://doodle.com/7mtbkyydr26dpg93 or contact the Center at socialjustice@rccd.edu, or (951) 222-8846.

This post was contributed by student worker Cynthia Mosley.


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Artswalk Film on 5/7 Highlights Pioneering Actress Anna May Wong

Anna May Wong

The documentary Anna May Wong: In Her Own Words presents a vivid picture of the first Chinese American movie star who was both an architect and a victim of her times.

Anna May Wong was born in 1905 in Los Angeles, daughter of a laundryman. Her first appearance on film was at the age of 17 in Toll of the Sea, a silent version of Madame Butterfly. She is most well-known for appearing in the film Shanghai Express with Marlene Dietrich, one of dozens of films she made in Hollywood, Berlin, and London. She was known as glamorous, worldly, and articulate, yet spent most of her career being typecast as a painted doll or scheming “dragon lady.” She could be perceived as someone whose roles reinforced racist stereotypes, but younger generations of Asian Americans see her as a pioneer artist who succeeded in a hostile environment that has not altogether changed.

This documentary is an imaginative survey of Wong’s career, with commentary from actors, scholars and biographers, old colleagues, and acquaintances. Key moments of Wong’s life are reenacted, and the commentary is drawn from Wong’s letters, performances, and interviews.

The film will be screened on May 7th in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage month, with showings 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 Artswalk film series continues on June 4th with Stonewall Uprising, and on July 2nd with The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo.

This post was contributed by student worker Cynthia Mosley.

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A Purrr-fect Painting Party!

Come join us on May 3rd at the Center between 1pm and 4pm for fun the whole family can enjoy – this will be the final First Sundays event of the season until October, so you don’t want miss out!


Our featured artist Miné Okubo loved to paint cats, and you will too in this fun craft! Take our template of one of Miné’s crouching kitties and personalize it with paint, markers, stickers, googly eyes, and anything else you can imagine. Then name your feline creation and take it home with you!

First Sundays

First Sundays is a seasonal series of free family programs featuring different activities for children and teens at seven locations throughout downtown Riverside. Sponsored by the Riverside Arts Council.

This blog post was contributed by student worker Cynthia Mosley.