Arts for Racial & Climate Justice


Our program, 'Arts for Racial & Climate Justice', uniquely blends music from the African diaspora with insightful talks, advocacy, arts activities, and film projects to explore the intersections of racial and climate justice. This initiative underscores the power of the arts as catalysts for personal resilience and social transformation.

Annually, our festival champions health, sustainability, and climate justice. It aims to elevate public awareness and engagement in local issues pertaining to racial and climate justice, eco-friendly practices, and the impactful work of nonprofits in these arenas. Furthermore, it fosters collaborative efforts geared towards climate justice and food sovereignty.

Highlights from our past events include a spotlight on Springfield's Climate Justice Initiative, the creation of a climate justice-themed mural, and a series of educational talks and booths. These activities provided valuable insights into food sovereignty and urban agriculture, linking these crucial topics with culture, health, and sustainability.

Looking ahead, our film projects will focus on communities at the forefront of the climate crisis. These films will showcase their unique cultures, emphasizing themes of resilience, innovation, and inspiration. They aim to illustrate how cultural heritage contributes to resilience, the role of traditional knowledge and practices in fostering sustainable living, and the dynamic ways these communities are organizing and driving change.

Upcoming Events

Previous Events

Photo of Charles Neville
6/19-8/28 2022

Horn Man:

The Life and Musical Legacy of Charles Neville


Learn more about Charles Neville - CLICK HERE

8/14 2021

Jazz & Justice:

Programming at our free annual Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival A FREE FESTIVAL IN  DOWNTOWN SPRINGFIELD. RVSP - CLICK HERE

Jazz & Justice: Programming at our free annual Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival
August 14, 2021 in and around Stearns Square, Springfield

  • Festival artist Etienne Charles presents on the African-based musical elements and masquerading of Carnival in Trinidad.
  • Voodoo expert Dr. Ina Fandrich presents on Charles Neville’s socio-cultural background and the African-based spirituality and music with which he grew up.
  • Springfield faith leader
  • A panel of activist reverends (one also a festival musician) and Springfield Climate Change & Health Equity Committee leaders explores the intersections of music, faith, and climate justice activism.
8/07 2021

Anbessa Orchestra feat. GILI YALO



Gili Yalo & the Enbessa Orchestra Play Ethiopian Jewish Music
August 7, 2021  Bombyx Art Space, Florence MA – outdoor and livestreamed   

In partnership with Beit Ahavah synagogue

Gili Yalo, an Ethiopian Jew, tells the story of Israel’s evacuation of the Ethiopian Jews to Israel to save them from danger during a civil war and famine in 1984. He and his group then play the unique, spirited African-Israeli music of his homeland. Songs are in English, Hebrew, and Amharic, the Semitic langue of Ethiopia, creating a cultural bridge between diasporas and raising awareness of how Jews come in many colors. The evening ends with a Havdalah ceremony.

6/10 2021

Elio Villafranca & the Jass Syncopators




Elio Villafranca
Born in the Pinar del Río province of Cuba, Elio Villafranca is at the forefront of the latest generation of remarkable Cuban musicians. The Grammy nominated jazz pianist, composer, and bandleader will showcase his new work Standing by the Crossroads, with his six piece jazz ensemble – the Jass Syncopators. The ensemble adeptly pushes boundaries, infusing jazz with the syncopated rhythms of traditional Afro-Caribbean musical forms. Villafranca’s compelling and complex compositions teem with subtle textures and feature architecture derived from his classical training. This concert is presented by Blues to Green as part of a week-long residency.

Inspiration for Standing by the Crossroads 
In Cuba, religions are very intertwined with the cultural fabric. Santeria, Arará, Abakuá, Congo, Tumba Francesa, Gangá, albeit different, have two things in common— the veneration of their Orishas and the way in which they see the Crossroads as a place of great significance. In Elio’s case, the spiritual concept of the Crossroads touched him the most. Standing by the Crossroads is a project that speaks about his own life experiences as an artist living in Cuba, and the many Crossroads situations he has encountered— from the polarization of musical styles or choices of artistic expression, to moments of life where he was faced with choosing between contradictory paths. These Crossroads moments posed plentiful double meanings and contradictory outcomes such as revolution or autonomy, living in the present or planning for the future, oppression or freedom, and homeland or no land. Different from Elio’s previous projects, in which he focused on honoring the legacy of historical figures such as CINQUE, these Crossroads experiences serve as the source of inspiration for this new work.

4/24 2021

The New Immigrant Experience




Felipe Salles & the Interconnections Ensemble Perform “The New Immigrant Experience”

“The New Immigrant Experience” combines live music from this 19-piece ensemble with video to tell the stories and struggles of nine diverse “Dreamers,” undocumented immigrants protected by DACA. In a panel discussion beforehand, the composer and several featured Dreamers provide context and answer audience questions. This event uses world-class music to help immigrants feel heard and non-immigrants understand and feel compassion for the undocumented immigrant experience.

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