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Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

Source: The Washington Post / Getty

L   ast year was a difficult one for people of color and other historically marginalized communities. The daily deluge of bad news since the 2016 election and subsequent inauguration of President Donald Trump has been frustrating and demoralizing. But with Martin Luther King Day Jr. approaching, we should remember the civil rights icon’s assertion that ‪“today’s despair is a poor chisel to carve out tomorrow’s justice.”

In this spirit, Sankofa is hosting a nine-day social justice festival called “Into Act!on: A Celebration of Community Power and Cultural Resistance.”

Seeking to energize participants and chart a course toward a more just and inclusive future, the event will include organizer training, workshops, panels, and concerts. Visitors will have the opportunity to engage with issues regarding women’s rights, workers’ rights, mass incarceration, immigration reform, climate justice, healthcare, LGBTQ+ equality, among other critical topics. There will also be a large pop-up art exhibition featuring 175 influential visual artists.

The festival will run January 13-21, encompassing MLK Day and the one-year anniversaries of both President Trump’s inauguration and the Women’s March, which has become a symbol of the resistance to his administration.

Potential speakers and performers include Ava DuVernay, Colin Kaepernick, Kendrick Lamar, Issa Rae, Chance the Rapper, Jesse Williams, Erykah Badu, Janet Mock, and Laverne Cox.

Founded by Harry Belafonte in 2013, Sankofa is a social justice organization that enlists the support of today’s artists and influencers in the service of social justice and grassroots movements.

Into Act!on will be held in Los Angeles, Calif., at 1726 N Spring Street. The art gallery and daily programming are free and open to the public. For information about speakers, performers, and events, visit the website.