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

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Craft Wire Sculptures at the Center for First Sundays!

Celebrate Women’s History Month at the Center for Social Justice and Civil Liberties on Sunday, March 6th from 1-4pm! Kids of all ages are invited to make a colorful hanging wire sculpture inspired by the innovative modern artist, Ruth Asawa (1926-1987).



Ruth Asawa was an American artist nationally recognized for her wire sculptures, public art commissions, and her activism in education and the arts. When Ruth was 16, she and her family were interned along with 120,000 other Japanese Americans living along the West Coast of the United States. For many, internment caused irreparable harm, but for Ruth it was the first step on a journey that would profoundly change who she was and what she thought was possible in life. “I would not be who I am today had it not been for the internment,” she said, “and I like who I am.”

Asawa is primarily known for her crocheted wire sculptures, intended to hang from the ceiling. We will be making our own colorful versions for young artists to take home. Asawa felt that art was something in which everyone could participate. “An artist is not special,” she once said. “An artist is an ordinary person who can take ordinary things and make them special.”


Asawa was a contemporary of Miné Okubo, the Japanese American artist whose works, including paintings and drawings of her own time in an internment camp, are featured at the Center. While the two had very different personal lives – for instance, Ruth had six children and Miné had none – and worked in different media, both expanded the horizons of American art in the 20th century.

First Sundays is a seasonal series of free family programs featuring different activities for children and teens at seven different downtown locations.

This post was written by student worker Cynthia Mosley.



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CRIME AFTER CRIME Screens on March 3rd

Crime After Crime Poster

The Liebert Cassidy Whitmore Film Series on “The Role of Law in American Society” continues at the Center on March 3rd with showings of Crime After Crime at 6pm and 7:45pm. Admission is free, but seating is limited.

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Center is screening the story of the battle to free Debbie Peagler, an incarcerated survivor of brutal domestic violence. Debbie was wrongly convicted of the murder of her abusive boyfriend, and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. Despite spending over 26 years in prison, and the injustices she has experienced, first at the hands of a duplicitous boyfriend who beat her and forced her into prostitution, and later by prosecutors who cornered her into a life behind bars for her connection to the murder of her abuser, the spirit of this determined woman cannot be crushed.

Debbie’s story takes an unexpected turn when Nadia Costa and Joshua Safran, a pair of rookie land-use attorneys, struggle to obtain justice for her, and attract global attention to the troubled intersection of domestic violence and criminal justice.

The Riverside Community College District would like to thank the law firm of Liebert Cassidy Whitmore for their generous sponsorship of this series.

This post was written by student worker Cynthia Mosley.


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EXODUS Closing on 2016 World Day of Social Justice

The Center invites you to celebrate the 2016 Day of Remembrance and the UN World Day of Social Justice on Saturday February 20th by attending a very special reception from 2-4pm. This will be your final opportunity to see our visiting exhibit, Exodus/ Éxodo, a powerful series of photographs by Julián Cardona that documents the forced exodus of people from Mexico to the United States over the past decade, and the state and economic violence migrants face. According to the United Nations, nearly 60 million people are currently displaced by conflict and persecution in an unprecedented series of worldwide migrations. Cardona’s photographs offer a distinctive perspective on our regional participation in this global tragedy.


To honor the stories captured in this exhibit, the Center has partnered with the Gluck OPA Fellows Program at the University of California, Riverside to host a very special performance. Undergraduate fellow, music major, and vocalist Alfredo Medina will interpret several classic songs in the mariachi tradition and discuss the significance of this music to his own heritage as it connects him to communities on both sides of the border. Alfredo’s story, like those captured in Exodus and in the history of Japanese American internment and redress honored every February on the Day of Remembrance, remind us that socially just relations are built, not only through the efforts of global organizations like the United Nations, but through the actions of everyday individuals in local communities.

Alfredo Medina

So come by, enjoy the food and music, and take advantage of this final opportunity to view Exodus/ Éxodo in Riverside. We look forward to seeing you!