Forward Union Fair 2018 Public Programs Schedule

Participants in the Forward Union Fair unite in their dedication to informed civic engagement, exploring themes of immigration, gun control, and healthcare.

Saturday, September 29

12pm – 6pm

Session One: Voter Education & Civic Engagement

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Free for all fair attendees

CIVICS 101: Upcoming Elections and Their Impact

Ben Yee, State Committeeman for New York’s 66th Assembly District, will take us through the organization and impact of NY politics.

The primer will include who’s up for election this year; what all those people do and how they impact our lives (including the IDC); how voting works, why we do it, and why it is so hard in New York State; and why the census, redistricting, and gerrymandering are so important to discuss. He’ll end on the races we should be aware of beyond the midterm elections this November.

Amy Khoshbin: You Never Know

You Never Know is a political speech turned cathartic rap dance-party by Iranian-American artist Amy Khoshbin, who is running for City Council in Brooklyn in 2021.

Exploring the culture of violence and fear-mongering that Western media perpetuates, Khoshbin shares her experiences at a gun show, asks what the opposite of a weapon could be, and encourages a group catharsis through video, dance, and rap music. Can political empowerment for change and liberating entertainment be the same thing?

NY Politics: Power, Logistics, and Civic Responsibility

Using Ben Yee’s civics primer as a starting point, Amanda Clarke (Regional Director, Run For Something) facilitates a discussion on New York politics and civic engagement.

Participants will discuss: Why are the upcoming midterm elections so important? What trends and disruptions do they see in NY races? What does it mean to run a campaign? Is running for office the only way to influence policy changes? What is needed from those of us outside politics who deeply care about state and local policies? Is there hope?


Ben Yee, State Committeeman, NY’s 66th Assembly District
Amy Khoshbin, artist and City Council candidate
Mia Pearlman, Founder, True Blue NY
Ava Benezra, Campaign Manager, NY Working Families for Cynthia Nixon and Jumaane Williams

Aram Han Sifuentes: Protest Banner Lending Library Workshop
RSVP required; individuals or groups of 2-4 can be accommodated

Join artist Aram Han Sifuentes for this hands-on communal sewing workshop, learn the basic skills necessary to make protest banners on your own, and come together to support each other’s voices. Sifuentes explains:

“Banners are a way for me to resist what is happening in the United States and in the world. It is a way to put my voice out there and not stay silent. I cannot be silent. However, as a non citizen and a new mother, I cannot always go to protests. And in these workshops I realized that there were many people who came because they needed to find a way to participate, resist, and speak up but also couldn’t always go to protests because they too were mothers, non citizens, undocumented- those who would be at great risk if caught up and arrested. My protest banner making workshops has become a place where people come together in solidarity through making. And making is, in and of itself, a form of resistance.”


Session Two: Resisting ICE and Advocating for Immigrant Rights

Short Film Screening: We Have Rights

What do we do when confronted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)? What do we do when ICE is in our neighborhoods, in our streets, in our homes, in the courtroom? What can we do to resist and prevent deportation?

We Have Rights is a series of short videos, based on true stories, that visualizes actions to take and language to use when confronted by ICE agents. The series was created in partnership with ACLU and Brooklyn Defender Services.

Telling the Strongest Story: Effective Impact through Creative Collaboration

Join the collaborators of the film series, We Have Rights, as they discuss the idea that launched the series, the filmmaking process and the effective implementation of the films for education, awareness, and policy change.


Scott Hechinger (Senior Staff Attorney and Director of Policy, Brooklyn Defender Services)
Michael Kleiman (documentary filmmaker of We Have Rights, Founder & Executive Director, Media Tank Productions)
Ravi Ragbir (Executive Director, New Sanctuary Coalition)
Sara Gonzalez (New Sanctuary Coalition)
Michael Kleiman (documentary filmmaker of We Have Rights, Founder & Executive Director, Media Tank Productions)
Lindsey Buller (Senior Accredited Representative, Brooklyn Defender Services)
Drea Herrera (Organizer, New York Civil Liberties Union)

Training: Immigration Accompaniment with The New Sanctuary Coalition

The New Sanctuary Coalition (NSC) accompaniment program recruits and trains volunteers to accompany people facing deportation to their immigration hearings and ICE check-ins. This provides moral support to the person facing deportation and enables volunteers to hold immigration authorities accountable. Standing in solidarity with migrants facing deportation also demonstrates to immigration judges, ICE officers, and government attorneys that there is a community mobilized against their deportation. NSC accompanies hundreds of people a year.

Generator Collective Storytelling Hour

Generator Collective will lead a storytelling session in which participants are invited to share stories of how they have been positively and negatively impacted by political policy. The aim is to humanize policy through storytelling and to help organize the noise of these policies into digestible, human stories that make politics more accessible and relatable.

Jen Winston, Founder, Girl Power Supply
Carmen LoBue, Filmmaker

Hosted by Ruby Anaya

Sunday, September 30

12pm – 6pm

Session One: Healthcare & Reproductive Rights

Towards Racial Equity in Healthcare with the New York Health Act

Artist and activist Nichole van Beek will lead a discussion with doctors and activists around the topic of universal healthcare. Together, they will tackle large questions such as: In what ways does the current healthcare/hospital system in NY (or NYC) exhibit or enforce systemic racism? What is the NY Health Act and how would it address these problems? What can be done in the coming months/year to support the NYHA?


Daniel Neghassi, Doctor/Activist with Campaign for New York Health, Physicians for a National Health Program, and R&R
Katie Robbins, Director, Campaign for New York Health
Roona Ray, Doctor/Activist

Healthcare & Reproductive Rights Consciousness-Raising Meeting

National Women’s Liberation invites women to gather and answer questions from personal experience. As a group, we will compare the similarities and differences in women’s testimonies to study oppression.

Consciousness-Raising is used as a tool for examining the political root of so-called personal problems. We will look at who is oppressing us, who benefits, who pays, and how to fight back.

The session will include a briefing on what Consciousness-Raising is, its history, and why they use it; time for people to testify and tell their stories; discuss the similarities and differences in the testimonies to draw pertinent and action-inspiring conclusions.

Session Two: In Response to Gun Violence

Conversation on gun policy, education, and violence interruption

How can you make a difference in gun violence locally and nationally? Meet activists and policy experts to discuss gun violence issues and learn how you can effect change.

Kristine Arroyo, Assistant Program Director, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence
Shanduke McPhatter, CEO, Gangstas Making Astronomical Community Changes Inc.
Alyssa Postman Putzel, NY State Leader, Students Demand Action
Bayete Ross, Director of Programs, Kings Against Violence Initiative

Stanley Fritz, NYC Campaigns Manager, Citizen Action of New York

Discussion & Workshop: This Is Not A Gun
RSVP Required

This Is Not a Gun is a traveling ceramic workshop that catalyzes conversation around human rights violations and systemic racism through collaborative making. In this hands-on workshop, participants are invited to sculpt from clay a series of ubiquitous objects that have been mistaken for guns by police officers in shootings of unarmed individuals.

Jade Thacker and Jessica Angima will offer a series of questions for discussion during the making, featuring readings from the recently published “31 Objects” on Montez Press. This is the 8th workshop since March 2017.

The workshop will take place immediately following the discussion. Attendees to the discussion are encouraged to stay for the hour-long workshop.

Final Performance

Another Protest Song: Karaoke With A Message
with Angel Nevarez & Valerie Tevere

Another Protest Song: Karaoke with a Message (2008 – ongoing) looks to the karaoke songbook as potential for political enunciation through song. Karaoke is communal, social, musical. With protest karaoke, song choices may speak of present political struggles and histories, rather than music consumed primarily as products of popular culture.