In the summer of 2020, the BIPoC staff of AS220 lovingly crafted and presented 12 demands: steps necessary for AS220 to become a truly anti-racist organization. You can read those demands here and AS220’s response here.
AS220’s Racial Justice Initiative, started in 2019 and led by AS220’s Director of Programs Anjel Newmann, engages staff, board, and community members in responding to the BIPoC demands and other anti-racist work at AS220. Since February, AS220 staff and a group of Racial Justice Committee Facilitators have been meeting bi-weekly to build trust, understand the demands, and start working collaboratively to make recommendations on how to fulfill the demands.
It’s our honor to introduce you to the community artists and organizers – “Moons” as they preferred to be called – who are facilitating our Racial Justice Initiative committees (Education, Policy, Community), and we thank them for so generously sharing their time, knowledge and expertise with us as we do this critical work together!
Anjel is AS220’s Co-Executive Director and a part of AS220’s Leadership Team. She’s also an artist, anti-racist organizer, educator and mother. Anjel started in the Youth program at age 13, and has been part of AS220 ever since. She plays a central role in leading AS220’s Racial Justice Initiative.
“Working alongside my fellow Moons is exactly how I imagined this would feel. The decentralized nature of our leadership style, practiced through our co-facilitation, is making conversations with committee members + community so much richer.”
Anthony “AM.” Andrade (he/him/his)
AM. is Co-Director of The Haus of Glitter Dance Company + Performance Lab, and has recently expanded into his role as the Visual + Media Arts Manager at AS220 Youth.
“Our Racial Justice Initiative has become the earth of my work at AS220. As a person of color, native to Providence, there is nothing more fulfilling than activating my communities to work towards centering our city’s energy toward feminist/BIPoC wisdom and healing.”
Justin is an Antiracist Organizer and Core Trainer with The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond.
“I am thrilled to be working alongside AS220 on their Racial Justice Initiative. AS220 has been a great resource to the Providence community for a long time and they are clearly in an incubation/transformation process right now as something new grows. They are leaning into this process quite intentionally and vulnerably, in a way that only the artists can do!”
Matthew Rolando Garza (he + they)
Garza is a Queer Tejanx/Latinx performance artist, Contemporary Afro-Latin choreographer, healer & educator, recently named the Inaugural Artist in Residence for the Providence Arts + Culture + Tourism Department and Parks Department for the Historic Esek Hopkins Homestead & Park.
“I’m honored to be co-leading the Community Committee for AS220’s Racial Justice Initiative — it is still rare for communities of color to be heard on a genuine, meaningful institutional level. I want to nurture and show up in spaces that are listening to marginalized voices. As a dancer and choreographer, I’m so interested in this work of moving forward together. How can our anatomy and creative practice inform our social justice work?”
Vatic is driven by ideas. His passion belongs to creation. Words are the most economical medium. One can create a universe with words and never spend a penny. At the conception of every creation is a thought. Vatic thinks in universes and like every poet he writes with worlds.
Key Skills include: Arts Facilitation, Artistic Production Management, Anti-Racist Facilitator/Instructor, Systemic Injustice Analysis, Critical Race Theory, Community Engagement, Artistic Practice, Participatory Action Research, Theater Direction, Writing/Editing.
Providence Cultural Equity Initiative
The Providence Cultural Equity Initiative promotes, cultivates and advocates for the Cultural Sector and Economy of Rhode Island. PCEI supports and values uncompromising commitment to cultural authenticity, equity and sustainability by promoting and presenting products, services and opportunities to engage with Rhode Island’s cultural sector, economy, and communities. PCEI team members Jonathan “Meetush” Lewis and Raymond Two Hawks Watson are supporting AS220’s Racial Justice Initiative.
Raymond Two Hawks Watson
Raymond Two Hawks Watson is an Artivist, Community Activist, Educator, Cultural Practitioner and Convener with 15 years of experience in nonprofit executive administration. His skills consist of program development & implementation, grant writing, motivational speaking, leadership & cultural equity consulting, community organizing and event planning, supplemented by an extensive background in promoting and supporting cultural equity initiatives and programming in the Rhode Island community.
Jonathan “Meetush” Lewis
Meetush is a Social Cohesion Practitioner and Trainer with 20 years of experience in the field of conflict resolution and reconciliation. He currently focuses on educating individuals and organizations in the fundamental tenets of cultural equity to effectively promote social cohesion principles and mitigate racism in their own lives and communities.