May 18, 2020
Issues: Events, Fighting Bigotry
Muslim Advocates, Shangri La Museum, Kennedy Center to Launch “American Muslim Futures” Project
Wednesday Concert Kicks Off Showcase of Barrier-Breaking Artists Envisioning a Better Future for American Muslims
WASHINGTON, DC — On Wednesday, May 20 at 7 PM ET, Muslim Advocates, the Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will host an online concert featuring world-class, barrier-breaking musicians. The concert is part of American Muslim Futures, an ongoing project developed by Muslim Advocates in partnership with the Shangri La Museum that connects visual and performing artists with civil rights advocates and cultural institutions to shift the public perception of Muslims in this country and envision a future where all Americans live free of hate. Thursday’s concert, which will be broadcast on Facebook and YouTube, will be emceed by Ascia, a DC-based social media influencer, and will feature performances by:
- Raef, an internationally-renowned Muslim singer/songwriter based out of Virginia.
- The Reminders, a Muslim hip hop, soul, and roots duo based in Colorado.
- Madame Gandhi, an electronic artist, percussionist and vocalist ally based in California.
“Muslim Advocates has spent 15 years fighting hatred and bigotry in court rooms and the halls of power. American Muslim Futures works towards that same goal by harnessing the power of artists to address the attitudes and beliefs that give rise to many of these civil rights abuses in the first place,” said Muslim Advocates Digital Advocacy Officer Erik W. Martínez Resly, who curated the concert.
“My hope is that Muslims will continue to live their faith in ways that enriches American society. I believe music plays a critical role in bringing people of all faiths together in service and solidarity,” stated Raef.
“My vision for a future that celebrates the identity of American Muslims is one in which anyone, regardless of spiritual identity, realizes how much we each have to learn from heritages that are not our own. We must be brave enough to look past media stereotypes and instead approach the culture of others with curiosity and enthusiasm! To recognize that there is so much we can learn from one another about music, life, discipline, truth, family and love when we choose to be open to receive it! As a South Asian American, it gives me great joy to bring my music to this concert series and hold space together in solidarity and respect for each others’ faiths,” said Madame Gandhi.
“The Kennedy Center is uniquely poised to connect and uplift artistic communities across the country, and honor the separate but universal struggle,” said Diana Ezerins, Director of Public Programs at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. “We’re thrilled to partner with the American Muslim Futures project to highlight artists and allies living across the country, joining together in artistic spirit in recognition of Ramadan. This is our contribution to the human spirit in a time of need.”
“This collaboration between Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design and Muslim Advocates highlights how arts and advocacy organizations can work together to celebrate visions of the country in its fullest expression. The American Muslim Futures project will showcase works of hope, unity and direction, affirming the belief that America’s brightest moments are realized when artists and communities are called to dream of a better tomorrow,” stated Dr. Konrad Ng, Executive Director, Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design.
Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.