Inaugural Freedom Festival at Los Angeles City College

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Los Angeles, Calif --- On Thursday, September 28, and Friday, September 29, Los Angeles City College will be hosting their first Freedom Festival. The event will highlight the role of the arts and education in helping to reintegrate formerly incarcerated people back into society.

Additionally, the festival will bring awareness to the need for basic human rights, social justice and equality, and stigmas associated with incarceration. 

The Freedom Festival will showcase a wide variety of speakers and performers as well as offer information from relevant resource providers. 

Highlights of the festival include:

  •  a performance of the Strindberg Laboratory’s  “Free Yo Mind,” a play created with actors from the LA Mission, inspired by Martin Luther King’s “What is Your Life’s Blueprint?” speech
  •  a workshop by Peter Merts, who documents the art, music, theater, and creative writing classes taught in California state prisons
  •  a performance of Ray Bradbury’s “The Pedestrian” by the LACC Theater department
  •  a display of artwork and a panel presentation from Cal State San Bernardino’s Prison Arts Collective
  •  panel discussions with formerly incarcerated people now enrolled at UCLA and other colleges and universities
  •  music, artwork, recitations, and comedy on the topic of freedom by LACC students

The festival is part of the “Break It to Make It” program which is funded by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to provide opportunities to reach out to incarcerated individuals through the arts and education and to help provide the services they need once they are released. 

Funding for the festival was obtained with the support of Assemblyman Mike Gipson.

“I am happy we were able to secure funding for this very important program that I believe will trend throughout California,” said Asm. Gipson.  “It is our responsibility, as a legislature, to remove barriers and create opportunities especially for those who will be re-entering society. They are people too” said Asm. Gipson.   

The Freedom Festival is a partnership between LA City College, the Los Angeles Mission, and The Strindberg Laboratory.

About Los Angeles City College

Established in 1929, Los Angeles City College is the oldest of the Los Angeles Community Colleges. Located in the heart of Hollywood, LACC provides a dynamic innovative learning environment offering more than 100 vocational and professional programs including degrees, transfer programs and certificates to more than 18,000 students. LACC is home to one of the most successful Cinema/TV programs in the country, as well as The LACC Theatre Academy, the oldest theatre academy in Los Angeles. The College’s many famous alumni include Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Mark Hamill, and Cindy Williams among others. In 2019, LACC will celebrate its 90th anniversary. 

About the Los Angeles Mission

The Los Angeles Mission is a non-profit, privately supported, faith-based organization that serves the immediate and long-term needs of homeless and disadvantaged men, women and children. The Mission is among the nation’s largest service providers to the homeless.      

About the Strindberg Laboratory

The Strindberg Laboratory is focused on bringing hope to segments of society affected by the increasing gap between rich and poor.  It is one of the only theater companies in Los Angeles County whose members consist entirely of people whom are formerly incarcerated and provide theater workshops both inside Los Angeles County Jails and California State Prisons.

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