Artists Act to Transform Culture of Violence Against Women – Women around the world have marked November 25th as a day against violence against women for more than 30 years, in remembrance of the Mirabal sisters, political activists who were assassinated in the Dominican Republic on November 25, 1960, under orders from dictator Rafael Trujillo. For the past eight years, our correspondent Silvia Parra has worked to put this day on the civic calendar of the city of San Francisco. Parra is known in San Francisco’s Mission District as the artist MamaCoatl. Every year, she and other women artists, dancers, poets and healers seek to transform the culture of violence from a space of art, activism and spirituality. In recent days the group held the seventh festival of “Guardianas de la Vida,” or “Guardians of Life,” a night of music, poetry and dance, in which the artists asked the question of why in 2013 there is still violence against women. Silvia Parra has this story from the event.
Brush and Paint Motivate Immigrant Women – Each week in the patio of a house in Los Angeles, a group of immigrant women older than 50 get together and get out their paintbrushes. All of these women have spent most of their lives working and attending to their families, without discovering their artistic abilities. The experience of the painting workshop, which is directed by an artist from the state of Oaxaca, in southern Mexico, has transformed them. It has helped several recover from depression, and it has given a new sense of life to all. Our correspondent in Los Angeles, Rubén Tapia, has more details of this motivating experience. This feature story is part of our series Raíces: Stories About Grassroots Artists.