The Foundation is pleased to offer our grantees the opportunity to share information about their grant on our website.  We hope it will offer the public increased visibility for your work.

Terms and Conditions. This form is intended for those who have received a Puffin Foundation grant.  By filling out this form, you will be requesting Puffin to post information about your granted project on our web site.  Please fill out the form carefully.  It includes the option to provide an email address for the public to contact you, as well as providing an email address for the Foundation to use internally that would not be made public.  Note that if you include personally identifiable information in your public content, it can be used and viewed by others.   We are not responsible for the information you choose to include in public content.  The Foundation reserves the right to edit any submissions for size and appropriate content.  If you wish to give photo, audio or video credit for submissions, such credit should be included in your text under the description of your project.

An exhibition exploring Martin Luther King Jr.’s connection to NYC opens this weekend
Visit the Museum of the City of New York Full Article on Timeout.com ... more
Colin Kaepernick is the winner of the 2017 Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship
Puffin Foundation President Perry Rosenstein, Executive Director Gladys Miller-Rosenstein, Vice President Neal... more
Major New Work Arriving Soon at the Puffin Sculpture Garden
Recent visitors to Puffin have been asking about the excavation site in... more
Foundation News & Blog
Brian Lehrer Show Looks for Your Input on Activist New York
Posted in News
Share/Save/Bookmark

The Brian Lehrer Show is featuring photos from the Activist NY exhibit and looking for your comments.  The exhibit is in the new Puffin Foundation Gallery at the Museum of the City of NY.  Take a look.

The Museum of the City of New York has a new exhibit, “Activist New York”, exploring the rich history of how New Yorkers push for change. We’ll post a few a week for the next few weeks. Share them widely and tell us what you notice about these images and what they tell you about New York’s activist history. See more here: http://www.mcny.org/exhibitions/current/Activist-New-York.html

 

 
ALBA-Puffin Human Rights Award for 2012: New Yorker
Posted in News
Share/Save/Bookmark

The New Yorker

News Desk

Notes on Washington and the world by the staff of The New Yorker

June 9, 2012

The Documents and the Murderers

Posted by

alba-puffin-465.jpg

How do you bring tolerance and democracy to a country in which a murderous military, which over the years killed some two hundred thousand of its own citizens, is effectively still in power? You hold elections—sure, elected governments are a good place to start—but what about the past, the brutal back-story? What about a country in which forty-five thousand of the murdered simply disappeared? Do you turn the page, or do you insist on an accounting? And if so, how?

These questions ran through discussions at the Museum of the City of New York recently, both before and after the Puffin Foundation—an arts and human-rights organization—and the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA), an educational organization dedicated to perpetuating the memory of the American volunteers to the Republican side of the Spanish civil war, gave their hundred-thousand dollar Human Rights Award to Kate Doyle and Fredy Peccerelli, two activists working in Guatemala, the country in question.

The Puffin/ALBA award is perhaps the world’s largest human-rights award. Last year—its initial year—it was given to Baltasar Garzón, the embattled Spanish judge and champion of transnational justice. Sebastiaan Faber, professor of Hispanic Studies at Oberlin, and chairman of the Board of Governors of ALBA, called Doyle and Peccerelli “brave, persistent, and innovative.”

Doyle, a document expert who worked with the National Security Archive in Washington, has spent many years working with a surprising trove of documents that had been considered lost. In 1997, as part of the peace accords, the Guatemalan National Police was disbanded—peace negotiators considered them to be so deeply implicated in the violence that a new force should be established from scratch. In 2005, a routine inspection of a complex of abandoned buildings turned up the complete archives of the disbanded police force—some eighty million pages in all—which detailed the surveillance, detention, torture, and disposition of numerous victims.

When first discovered, Doyle says, “it was a horrifying graveyard of documents. Windows were broken. Bats, rats, and cockroaches were everywhere. Mold was everywhere.” Seven years later, workers funded by the U.N.’s Transitional Justice Program have scanned and organized fourteen million pages. To Doyle, the most notable outcome of the project is the degree to which it is “shifting what we know about the war and helping Guatemalan society as a whole to rethink and reconstruct what they know about the violence.”

The documents made possible the 2011 conviction of two police agents for the kidnapping, in 1984, of a labor activist, Edgar Fernando García. García’s remains have never been found, but based on evidence of the two policemen’s involvement in the kidnapping, they were sentenced to forty years each. The courts have now also indicted their superior officers.

Doyle told me that at the trial, former colleagues of García’s came out and openly testified about their membership in the Guatemalan Communist Party. “Everyone was surprised at people’s willingness to discuss such things,” Doyle said. “That’s completely new in Guatemala. All these developments have allowed a completely new national debate to take place.”

She has also testified at trials, and on two different occasions has been the recipient of documents that she was told would endanger anyone who had them in their possession in Guatemala. One of these, which she was handed just before boarding a plane to the United States, was “Plan Sofia,” a record of the military’s scorched-earth strategy for the Ixil Maya region. “It showed a chain stretching from Army high command to commanders on the ground and then reports from units on the ground back up to the top command,” Doyle said. “It was a rigid hierarchy, and it documents the burning of villages, the killings of civilians and of their animals, and the bombing of civilian refugees.”

Plan Sofia proved to be a central piece of evidence against Efraín Ríos Montt, an evangelical Christian Army general who, in 1982, seized power and then presided over the most violent period of Guatemala’s history. The truth commission set up after the peace accords found that ninety-three per cent of Guatemala’s violence was committed by state-security forces or allied paramilitaries, and that fully eighty per cent of the victims were Maya Indians. In 2008, after finding evidence that that Ríos Montt was informed, through his chain of command, that thousands of unarmed Maya were being killed, Spain’s National Court, the same court in which Baltasar Garzón once sat, ordered arrest warrants for Ríos Montt and seven others on charges of genocide. Ríos Montt was saved from extradition by an act of Guatemala’s Constitutional Court, but in 2012, Guatemala was stunned when one of its own courts indicted Ríos Montt of the same genocide charges—using much the same logic. “The extermination of the civilian population,” the judge, Carol Patricia Flores, wrote in her opinion, “was the result of military plans and those plans were executed under the command of Ríos Montt.”

Fredy Peccerelli, Doyle’s co-honoree, runs the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation, an organization he founded in 1997 and which, since then, has done fourteen hundred and fifty excavations (initially for the truth commission, and later for prosecutors) and discovered the remains of some sixty-five hundred victims. He sees the foundation more as a scientific organization than as a human-rights organization. “We provide evidence to the justice system,” he told me. “How the victims died, how they were killed. We find ballistics, ropes tied around feet and necks.” He also sees part of what he’s accomplishing as rewriting history through science. “What happened in the conflict isn’t taught in schools, and we hope that all this will be used to educate people as to what happened.” He regularly receives death threats, and drives himself and his kids around in a bulletproof car with a permanent police bodyguard.

In the most recent election—November of last year—the winning Presidential candidate was Otto Pérez Molina, a retired general who campaigned on the promise to crack down on crime with a mano duro—an iron fist. Pérez Molina has an independent streak—he was a member of the military faction that, in the nineties, favored negotiations with the guerrillas. His own family has been subject to kidnapping attempts, and he has come out in favor of drug legalization as a way of dealing with Guatemala’s role as a transit point for narcotics bound for the United States. But during the war he held a significant command in the Ixil Maya region of Quiche province, a region where some of the worst massacres, disappearances, and human-rights abuses of the war took place. Of the excavated remains of massacre victims in the Ixil region, thirty-five per cent are children.

Peccerelli points out that Pérez Molina won by only three hundred and fifty thousand votes, and that his strongest demographic was urban eighteen-to-twenty-five-year-olds: “They don’t know the past; they don’t know about the violence.”

Coincident with the election of Pérez Molina—and potentially at odds with it—Guatemala is also experiencing a ground swell of demand for justice for human-rights abuses committed during the violence. In late 2010, Claudia Paz y Paz was appointed Attorney General, and has proceeded fearlessly against a variety of wrongdoers. She has prosecuted casino previously untouchable narco-traffickers, and even the sister-in-law of the President who appointed her. Most remarkable, however, has been her willingness to undertake a number of highly sensitive cases from the years of violence.

One that had languished for years was her successful prosecution of five officers from Guatemala’s feared special forces, the Kaibiles, for their roles in the 1982 massacre of two hundred and one citizens—including women and children—from the remote farming town of Dos Erres. (Pro Publica ran a piece on the case, as did This American Life.) The Kaibiles were deeply feared for their savagery. The new President, Pérez Molina, was not just a Kaibil officer himself, but ran one of their training camps. He has appointed a former Kaibil colleague as Minister of Defense, and put the Kaibiles themselves in charge of the fight against narco-trafficking; a number of Kaibil veterans have, meanwhile, gone on to become members of the Zetas, the Mexican drug gang, which has a significant presence in Guatemala.

Peccerelli’s D.N.A. identifications played a crucial courtroom role in the Dos Erres trial, which ended with the convicted officers receiving sentences of six thousand and sixty years each—thirty years for each victim, plus thirty years for crimes against humanity. In August of 2011, on the day after the verdict, he was driving in downtown Guatemala City with the forensic anthropologist Clyde Snow when a car pulled up next to his. A man wielding a knife stepped out and slashed his tire. Peccerelli managed to escape into a parking garage. A few days later, a letter showed up at his sister’s house, which said that he’d pay for “every one of the 6,060 years. The tire was nothing. Next time it will be your face. We know where your family works and where your kids go to school. We’re going to cut you into pieces.” The letter went on to accurately document where all the witnesses who’d testified in the trial had been on a certain day.

Doyle and Peccerelli agree that what’s ultimately most important are not the legal cases but the sense of release for the families of the victims. Speaking of the police archives, Doyle describes families who come looking for records of their loved ones. “They spend days searching the archives for surveillance records, photos, and press clips,” she told me. Peccerelli sees part of what he does as the “dignification” of the victims and their families. “They come to us saying that their loved ones didn’t do anything to die that way,” he said.

Peccerelli has his own Guatemalan history. His father was a champion weightlifter who, during the 1980 Olympics, was president of the Guatemalan Weightlifting Federation. He was, as Peccerelli puts it, a high-school revolutionary, “one of many, many Guatemalans who believed in Leftist ideals but didn’t believe in taking up arms.” But when he returned from the Olympics, his friends were being killed, and he began receiving death threats. Eventually, when Peccerelli was nine, the family fled to the Bronx, where they initially lived a block and a half from Yankee Stadium (turning Peccerelli into a life-long Yankee fan), and later to Brooklyn. Peccerelli distanced himself from Guatemala but, after graduation from Brooklyn College, he developed a vague interest in archaeology. He went to a meeting of the American Anthropological Association which, that year, had a human-rights theme. “I’d never heard the term ‘human rights’ but I heard a lecture by Clyde Snow and saw his slides of unearthing mass graves, and it was as if I’d been hit by lightning.” He went back, and ended up staying. One of his sons is now the catcher for the Guatemalan national baseball team.

Photograph: Courtesy ALBA

Read the original article at newyorker.com

 
Activist New York: In These Times
Posted in News
Share/Save/Bookmark

Ladies Tailors union

Two strikers from the Ladies Tailors union stand on the picket line during the 1910 "Uprising of the 20,000" garment workers strike in New York City. (Bain News Service/Library of Congress)

Culture » June 14, 2012

Archivists as Activists

Curating social movements.

BY Sady Doyle

'Activist New York' does not just archive and reflect the city's activist history; it helps ensure that this history becomes part of the collective public memory.

Can curation be a form of activism? And how well do New Yorkers know, or value, their city’s activist past? These are two questions raised by “Activist New York,” the first exhibition at the newly inaugurated Puffin Foundation Gallery at the Museum of the City of New York. The exhibit is comprised of 14 separate booths, each devoted to a separate chapter of New York’s activist history; the booths are designed to be removed and replaced over time with new ones that document different chapters of this history. The causes the exhibit explores are eclectic. There’s Stonewall, of course, and the suffrage movement and abolitionism. There’s also space devoted to the recent fight for bike lanes—a cause which, I’m sure, is a grand and noble one, but which is also probably not on anyone’s list of Things That Are Just As Important As Slavery. There’s even a display on mid-20th-century conservative activism, a gesture so big-hearted that it might even be unnecessary, were it not that the pamphlets about welfare-leeching hippies are objectively hilarious.

The exhibit uses mixed media to tell its story. Artifacts from the time are arranged in glass cases, and screens project images of historic events. Scrolls on the wall explain the significance of the time period. An exhibit on the activist theater of the 1930s, for example, contains a bust of actor and civil rights activist Canada Lee. A table for gay rights contains scrolling images of protesters, including one young man holding a sign reading “GOD IS GAY.”

This exhibit about activism and social change is designed to be active, and to change; to move and grow, both with time and with the visitor’s own participation. “It would be a terrible irony if an exhibit on activism allowed viewers to be passive,” says Museum of the City of New York’s chief curator Sarah Henry.

I attended the gallery on a quiet Wednesday afternoon. It wasn’t crowded, but the people in attendance were fully absorbed, peering into touch screens and glass cases. To further engage museumgoers, the exhibit allows people to upload photos of their own activist movements, which are both projected on a wall and visible on the museum’s blog (activistnewyorktoday.mcny.org). This feedback loop allows the museum to reflect history in real time and democratically.

“Activist New York” is the brainchild of The Puffin Foundation, which, in addition to supporting individual artists and journalists at independent publications such as In These Times, has a long track record of working to ensure that America’s activist past is not forgotten.

“A lot of people, when they think of a museum, think of looking at history. Looking at paintings on the wall, looking at dinosaur bones is what likely comes to mind,” says Neal Rosenstein, the Puffin Foundation vice president. “But Puffin wanted this exhibit to be a testimony not only to the extraordinary struggles that have been made by activists and ordinary New Yorkers in the past, but also make a link to the activism that’s going on today.”

To that end, “Activist New York” features interactive booths at which visitors can participate in polls—for example, about their level of involvement or planned level of involvement in the issues at hand—and learn about contemporary organizations that are connected to historic causes. At the booth about slavery, you can learn about groups devoted to ending human trafficking. The exhibition makes room for the future to connect to the past.

This historical consciousness, this reflective questioning, is often missing in New York’s constant, attention-deprived focus on the present. And it’s already drawn criticism. Reporting on the May 3 opening of “Activist New York,” The New Yorker’s Lizzie Widdicombe quoted Occupy Wall Streeter Jessie Singer: “It’s activism. So looking back is the most dangerous thing. You know?” Singer wondered whether it might not be necessary to set up an encampment at the museum in protest.

However, an historical perspective helps one understand how social change is created. In the back of the gallery is a display that allows one to scroll through a timeline of various movements (“women,” for example, or “gay rights”) and to see when important events in that cause’s history occurred. This screen, more than anything, captured the essence of New York activism: The people who engaged in these causes weren’t just quietly conducting their separate activities. They were engaging with each other, and often fighting with each other, as episodes on the timeline make clear.

Gay rights activists’ protests against feminist Betty Friedan’s remark about a “lavender menace” (too much lesbian influence in the women’s movement) doesn’t just belong shamefully in a booth for feminism, or triumphantly in a booth for gay rights, but rightfully in our conception of both causes. This very idea of how social change works—bumpily, unevenly, and with conflict and connection being central to the process—should be useful to someone who’s taking part in a movement as diverse and wide-ranging as Occupy.

“There are very important lessons to be learned,” says Perry Rosenstein, Puffin Foundation president. “The first lesson is, why aren’t all of these issues in the museum being taught in schools?” Rosenstein says that the goal of the exhibit is not just to archive and reflect the city’s activist history, but to make sure that this history becomes part of collective public memory. He hopes to expand the exhibit into a book and into a curriculum that might be taught in schools. Curation, in this sense, is activism, a challenge to a normative view of history.

“The exhibit shows how people have made change for the better, how people were able to right wrongs, and how New York became a leader in making change,” says Gladys Miller-Rosenstein, Puffin Foundation executive director.

There will be more movements and activists as time goes on—and “Activist New York” may help create them. In order to produce change, one must first understand that change is possible. Seeing the shape of it, understanding the push and pull of how change has been created in the past, is one of the ways people can begin to envision their own resistance.

On the exhibit’s blog, there are plenty of pictures of Occupy and of the May Day movements. But there are also pictures of people tending community gardens or rallying against gun violence. And yes, there are pictures of bike lanes.

“It’s been our life to support every march against every negative thing that we’ve seen in society that we thought we needed to change,” says Gladys. And Perry adds, “This gallery is a milestone for activism.”

But no one, no matter how committed, can be part of every march in a city as big, as complex, and as passionate as New York.

The Museum of the City of New York, now, can be a part of every movement the people of New York deem worthy of recording.

ABOUT THIS AUTHOR

Sady Doyle is an In These Times Staff Writer. She's also an award-winning social media activist and the founder of the anti-sexist blog Tiger Beatdown (tigerbeatdown.com).

More information about Sady Doyle

Link to In These Times and the original article

 
Indypendent Reviews Activist New York
Posted in News
Share/Save/Bookmark

THE INDYPENDENT

----------- a FREE PAPER for FREE PEOPLE -----------

Rebel City
June 13, 2012
Issue #
177

“Activist New York”
Museum of the City of New York
1220 Fifth Avenue
Through August 2012


"Vote Yes on Woman Suffrage.” “Apathy is Fatal to Freedom.” “The Other 99%.” These declarations charting the trajectory of social justice movements in the city can be found at the exhibition “Activist New York” as part of a digital display showing several generations’ worth of sloganeering buttons.

The show begins with the Flushing Remonstrance, a 1657 petition to Peter Stuyvesant, director-general of the Dutch colony in New York in which several citizens requested an exemption to his ban on Quaker worship. Though their appeal was denied, the document is celebrated as an early signal flare of religious freedom in the United States.

While the exhibition also highlights other social justice events in the 18th and 19th centuries, including New York’s role in the Abolition struggle, it’s when it enters the 20th century that things start to feel deeply, sometimes weirdly, familiar. The suffragettes, who took to the streets at the start of the century, utilized costumes, street performance and printed ephemera to play with perceived gender roles and take advantage of a nascent, spectacle-hungry mass media (one photo shows protesters dressed as maids, their sign reading “Are Politics Dirty? Then Call in the Cleaning Woman”). Elsewhere in the show, a 1970 photo portrays a clash between left-wing protesters on Wall Street and workers constructing the new World Trade Center.

This sort of show — an artifact-laden historical overview — runs the risk of becoming stale and overstuffed, but “Activist New York” stays compelling due to a careful selection of images and objects and an effort to find ­a through line straight into the present. The section devoted to early 20th-century labor includes a vintage shirtwaist — the thing forever associated with the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire — a loose-fitting garment meant to be physically freeing for working women, symbolizing all at once the blessings and yokes of the industrial age. Nearby, there’s a haunting rendition of “Die Fire Korbunes (The Fire’s Sacrifices),” a 1911 song about the Triangle fire, as performed by Metropolitan Klezmer just last year.

“Activist New York” insists that art has long been linked to activist struggle. A section on Depression-era political theater gives a quick glimpse of the radical arts community that inspired definitive American dramatists like Elia Kazan, Arthur Miller and Orson Welles. In the section on mid-century civil rights, there’s a poster for a massive benefit show at the Apollo, meant to help Harlem residents get to the now-legendary 1963 march on Washington. (Among many others, the concert included Thelonius Monk, Art Blakey, Quincy Jones and Stevie Wonder. Not bad.) Personally, my favorite moment in the exhibition is Clay Lancaster’s 1966 slideshow of sun-drenched Brooklyn streets, which he would present as a sort of simulated walking tour for the sake of historical preservation.

So, what about right-wing activists? Yeah, they’re in there, too. A section on mid-19th-century anti-immigrant politics includes a stomach-turning assortment of beautifully drawn newspaper cartoons promoting vile racial stereotypes. And a section on ’60s-era counter-radicalism includes National Review pro-Vietnam editorials and anti-pornography flyers (“We’ve had enough smut”).

Coming into the present, a section on bicycle advocacy includes digital videos from the environmentalist group Times Up!, with sweaty Critical Mass rides and noisy police aggression — the internet-ready quickness of these videos make for an interesting contrast with the more stoic documentary films of earlier eras. The exhibition ends at Park51, with vitriolic anti-Islam flyers reminding us that beneath the facade, ours is a city of open wounds.

“Activist New York” gets its strength not from the major touchstones so much as from the little bits and pieces — the things that look like they could’ve been picked up off the street, coming to us now after decades of careful archiving. From the handwritten “freedom diplomas” of civil rights-era school boycotts, to the DayGlo pins of ’70s gay rights ralliers and the grainy videos of protesters in Union Square. Throughout the show are computers linked to current organizations like Make the Road New York, Planned Parenthood and the Association for Union Democracy. It becomes clear that modern activists are building on past efforts, even when those past efforts weren’t always successful.

If you’ve ever spent all day in the rain at a protest that had a lackluster turnout, or spent weeks opposing a dangerous new bill that ended up getting passed into law without a hitch, then this show is for you; it’s so you can remember that these actions, ultimately, mean something. The city is a better place for it.

—Mike Newton

Link to the Indypendent and the original article here.

 

 
Four Centuries of Citizen Struggle
Posted in News
Share/Save/Bookmark

Four Centuries of Citizen Struggle: How Grassroots Movements Have Grown in New York

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, June 19 at 6:30 pm  
Four Centuries of Citizen Struggle: How Grassroots Movements Have Grown in New York

The First Discussion at the Puffin Foundation Gallery at the Museum of the City of New York.

A discussion exploring the events and cultural conditions that have made our city fertile ground for activism-- left, right, and center.

Ever since 17th-century settlers in the Dutch colony of New Netherland went over the head of Director-General Petrus Stuyvesant to demand religious freedom for Quakers, New Yorkers have engaged in grassroots movements that have changed the course of history in the city. Join us to explore the forces and the social, political, and cultural conditions that have made our city fertile ground for activism--left, right, and center-- with historians Johanna Fernandez, Baruch College of the City University of New York; Timothy Patrick McCarthy, Harvard University; and Sam Tanenhaus, editor of the New York Times Book Review. Clarence Taylor of Baruch College will moderate the discussion.

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Activist New York

RESERVATIONS REQUIRED
$12 Non-members; $8 Seniors and Students; $6 Museum Members

For more information or to register by phone, please call 917-492-3395.


Image: Strike Pickets, 1910. Bain News Service Photograph. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

 
Puffin Gallery on NYC Activism Opens at Musuem of the City of NY
Posted in News
Share/Save/Bookmark

New York City’s Dramatic 350-year History as a Focal Point of Social Activism Explored in New Puffin Gallery at the Museum of the City of New York

 

Museum of the City of New York Inaugurates the Puffin Foundation Gallery with Activist New York

 

(New York, NY) – Activist New York, the inaugural exhibition in the Museum’s new Puffin Foundation Gallery, examines the ways in which ordinary New Yorkers have advocated, agitated, and exercised their power to shape the city’s - and the nation’s - future. Centuries of activist efforts, representing the full spectrum of political ideologies, are illuminated through a series of installations featuring 14 New York movements ranging from the mid-17th century to today.

The exhibition features historic artifacts and images from the Museum’s celebrated collection as well as pieces on loan from other collections, along with interactive elements that enable visitors to explore and express their own views.  For the first three weeks of the exhibition attendees will have a chance to view the original “Flushing Remonstrance,” the 1657 landmark document protesting restrictions against Quakers in New Amsterdam.

The Puffin Foundation Gallery is situated in a newly renovated and climate-controlled 2000 square foot south gallery on the Museum’s second floor, and named for the foundation that has supported the gallery with a gift of $3.25 million. “Activism is a banner for all people to share their hopes and dreams of a better world,” said Perry Rosenstein, president of the Puffin Foundation.  "We are particularly pleased that the gallery gives guests the opportunity to connect with modern day activist organizations working on the pressing issues of today.  Along with the ability for activists and the public to update images of current activism across the city, this exhibit enable viewers to learn about the past, present and future of activism in New York," added Rosenstein.

Susan Henshaw Jones, Ronay Menschel Director of the Museum said, “An understanding of New York City’s historic distinctiveness is incomplete without grasping the motivations and issues for which activists have struggled and fought to bring about change. Virtually every aspect of life in the city has been affected by the actions of passionate and committed New Yorkers who have not been content with the world as they found it. We are enormously grateful to the Puffin Foundation for enabling the Museum to tell the stories of New Yorkers who demonstrated their passion publicly and in great numbers.”

View the NY1 story and images of the gallery here.

View images of the gallery at the gothamist.com here.

 
Puffin Gallery on NYC Activism to Open at Musuem of the City of NY
Posted in News
Share/Save/Bookmark

First-of-Its-Kind Exhibition on Social Activism Opens; Explores New York City’s Dramatic 350-year History as a Focal Point of Social Activism

Museum of the City of New York Inaugurates the Puffin Foundation Gallery with Activist New York

Strike Pickets, 1910, Bain News Service photograph, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

New York, NY (PRWEB) April 25, 2012

Activist New York, the inaugural exhibition in the Museum’s new Puffin Foundation Gallery, will examine the ways in which ordinary New Yorkers have advocated, agitated, and exercised their power to shape the city’s - and the nation’s - future. Centuries of activist efforts, representing the full spectrum of political ideologies, will be illuminated through a series of installations featuring 14 New York movements ranging from the mid-17th century to today.

The exhibition will feature historic artifacts and images from the Museum’s celebrated collection as well as pieces on loan from other collections, along with interactive elements that enable visitors to explore and express their own views. For the first three weeks of the exhibition attendees will have a chance to view the original “Flushing Remonstrance,” the 1657 landmark document protesting restrictions against Quakers in New Amsterdam.

Susan Henshaw Jones, Ronay Menschel Director of the Museum said, “An understanding of New York City’s historic distinctiveness is incomplete without grasping the motivations and issues for which activists have struggled and fought to bring about change. Virtually every aspect of life in the city has been affected by the actions of passionate and committed New Yorkers who have not been content with the world as they found it. We are enormously grateful to the Puffin Foundation for enabling the Museum to tell the stories of New Yorkers who demonstrated their passion publicly and in great numbers.”

The Puffin Foundation Gallery is situated in a newly renovated and climate-controlled 2000 square foot south gallery on the Museum’s second floor, and named for the foundation that has supported the gallery with a gift of $3.25 million.

Activist New York begins and ends with questions of religious freedom, from the struggle for religious tolerance in Dutch New Netherland, to today’s debate over a Muslim Cultural Center near Ground Zero. In between, the exhibition examines a wide range of social movements that transformed laws and assumptions regarding race, gender, class, sexuality, economic justice, and other issues.

The exhibition unfolds through a series of 14 examples of New York activism:

1. Let Us Stay: The Struggle for Religious Tolerance in Dutch New Netherland, 1650-1664
The exhibition features the Flushing Remonstrance, one of the earliest arguments for religious liberty and tolerance in American history.

2. Beware of Foreign Influence: Nativists and Immigrants, 1830-1860
This section explores efforts to prohibit or limit immigration and contain its impact on 19th-century New York. Nativists fought to curtail the largely Catholic immigrant community’s access to citizenship, the vote, and public office. The section also illustrates the ways Catholic New Yorkers combated nativism by establishing their own independent institutions to support their community.

3. What Has New York to Do with Slavery? 1827-1865
While New York City was a center of the abolitionist movement, it was also home to many people who sided with the Southern slave owners. This conflict was dramatically revealed in the Draft Riots of July 1863, where the issues of class and race came to a head in a harrowing, violent confrontation. The exhibition chronicles the efforts of both sides of the debate.

4. New York is the Battleground: Woman Suffrage, 1900-1920
In the early 20th century, New York became the epicenter for organizational activity of the national woman suffrage movement, with suffragists pioneering new methods of behind-the-scenes organizing and media-savvy publicity. The installation also documents the movement against woman suffrage through anti-suffrage images and messages published by a New York lithograph firm.

5. Houses of Welcome: The Settlement House Movement, 1890-1925
Immigrants in New York at the turn of the 20th century faced overcrowding, illness, and poverty. This section of the exhibition shows how a new type of agent for change—the settlement house worker—combated those conditions by moving into slum neighborhoods to provide instructions in parenting, health, and citizenship.

6. I Am a Working Girl! Upheaval in the Garment Trades, 1909-1915
This installation examines the events that led to reform and improvement of deplorable workplace conditions, including the 1909 "Uprising of the 20,000," an industry-wide strike by workers affiliated with the fledgling International Ladies' Garment Workers Union, and the 1911 Triangle Waist factory fire tragedy.

7. Art for the Masses: An Activist Theater, 1930-1945
This movement looks at the politically engaged New York theater groups that used their art to confront Depression-era poverty, labor exploitation, political corruption, racial tension, and the rise of Fascism and Nazism in Europe.

8. We Shall Not Be Moved: New York and Civil Rights, 1945-1964
This installation reveals New York City’s role in the early Civil Rights struggle of the post-World War II era, from the “Boycott Jim Crow” and anti-lynching movements through the emergence of CORE and SNCC, to the Black Power era of the mid-1960s.

9. What's Wrong with New York? Conservative Activism, 1962-1973
This segment of the exhibition looks at groups, such as “Parents and Taxpayers,” that were unhappy with a leftward drift in the city and blamed it for an increase in disorder, crime, and the swelling municipal budget. Many joined a new third party, the Conservative Party of New York, formed in 1962.

10. Stop the Wrecking Ball! Preserving Historic New York, 1955-1970
This case study shows how the loss of some of the city’s greatest cultural and architectural landmarks fed the efforts of the early historic preservation movement and eventually led to the creation of New York’s groundbreaking Landmarks Preservation Law.

11. “Gay Is Good”: Civil Rights for Gays and Lesbians, 1969-2012
This installation shows how the Stonewall Riots galvanized the modern gay rights movement in New York and led to the creation of Gay Men’s Health Crisis, ACT UP, and other organizations. The installation brings the story up to date with the successful campaign to secure the legalization of gay marriages in New York State.

12. “Don’t Move, Improve”: Reviving the South Bronx, 1970-2012
The South Bronx became an international icon of urban blight in the 1970s. This section of the exhibition examines grassroots advocacy groups, community organizations, and church congregations that took ownership of the rebuilding of their neighborhoods into livable, affordable communities.

13. Love Your Lane: Bicycle Advocacy, 1965-2011
Amid concerns about ecology, traffic congestion, and pollution, pioneering activists lobbied for changes in the traffic laws. Today, as part of the Bloomberg administration PlaNYC’s effort to build a greener, more sustainable city, bike lanes proliferate, as does agitation against for and against them, as this installation documents.

14. Park51: 2010-2012
This section provides a detailed exploration of the controversy over the construction of an Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan, which is reminiscent of the long and turbulent saga of activism surrounding issues of religious expression in New York City.

Interactive elements throughout the exhibition will provide opportunities to dig more deeply and bring the historic stories up to date. A series of touch screens will present a timeline of the history of activism in the city, with more than two hundred examples ranging from slave revolts of the 18th century to the Newsboys’ Strike of 1899 to the woman behind the movement that led to New York’s 1978 “pooper scooper” law. Additional kiosks with touch screens invite visitors to explore the work of contemporary activist groups and send email messages to these groups expressing the visitors’ views on current activism. In addition, members of the general public may submit photographs of contemporary activist in the city to a photo blog housed on the Museum’s website (http://www.mcny.org) and carried live in the Puffin Foundation Gallery.

Activist New York has been organized by an exhibition team led by Sarah M. Henry, the Museum’s Deputy Director and Chief Curator. Steven H. Jaffe served as guest curator, and Christina Ziegler-McPherson as associate guest curator. The exhibition team was aided by the Puffin Foundation Gallery Advisory Committee, chaired by Peter G. Carroll, Executive Director, Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives, and comprising scholars and activists Esther Cohen, Joshua Freeman, Victor Navasky, Bruno Quinson, Christopher Rhomberg, Tom Roderick, and Perry, Gladys, and Neal Rosenstein.

###

ABOUT THE MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK

Founded in 1923 as a private, nonprofit corporation, the Museum of the City of New York celebrates and interprets the city, educating the public about its distinctive character, especially its heritage of diversity, opportunity, and perpetual transformation. The Museum connects the past, present, and future of New York City, and serves the people of the city as well as visitors from around the world through exhibitions, school and public programs, publications, and collections.

 

 
Puffin-ALBA Award for Human Rights 2012
Posted in News
Share/Save/Bookmark

The Puffin Foundation and the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) Announce
Second Award for Human Rights Activism


Contact: Marina Garde
212-674-5398
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE info@alba-valb.org• www.alba-valb.org

Para más información en español sobre el Premio ALBA/Puffin al Activismo en pro de los Derechos Humanos de este año, pinche aquí.

New York — On May 13, 2012, the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives will present the Second ALBA/Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism, in the amount of $100,000, to Fredy Peccerelli, Executive Director of the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation, and Kate Doyle, Senior Analyst of U.S. policy in Latin America at the National Security Archive. The award ceremony will take place at the Museum of the City of New York.

“Both Doyle and Peccerelli are indefatigable defenders of human rights who have played a seminal role in the fight against impunity in Latin America,” said Sebastiaan Faber, Chair of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA).

A determined and creative researcher-activist, Doyle has spent twenty years working tirelessly with Latin American human rights organizations and truth commissions — in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Peru— to obtain the declassification of U.S. government archives in support of their investigations.

Peccerelli is an innovative forensic anthropologist whose work has been instrumental to the first-ever conviction of Guatemalan military forces for crimes against humanity. As founding director of the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation (FAFG), Peccerelli leads a team that, over the past fifteen years, has exhumed hundreds of mass graves filled with victims of Guatemala’s civil war.

The ALBA/Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism, one of the largest human rights awards in the world, is granted annually by ALBA and the Puffin Foundation.

“The award is designed,” said Puffin Foundation President Perry Rosenstein, “to give public recognition, support, and encouragement to individuals or groups whose work has an exceptionally positive impact on the advancement and/or defense of human rights. It is intended to help educate students and the general public about the importance of defending human rights against arbitrary powers that violate democratic principles.”

The ALBA/Puffin Award is part of a program connecting the inspiring legacy of the International Brigades — the 40,000 volunteers who helped fight fascism during the Spanish Civil War — to international activist causes of today. Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzón received the first ALBA/Puffin Award in May 2011.

Award Ceremony – Sunday, May 13th at 2:30pm
Museum of the City of New York
1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street
New York, NY 10029

BACKGROUND

Kate Doyle and the National Security Archive
For two decades, Kate Doyle has worked to shed light on the history of state violence and repression in the Americas. Through her research at the National Security Archive, she has obtained the disclosure of thousands of U.S. and Latin American government records from secret archives for human rights investigators, truth commissions, prosecutors and judges. She has testified as an expert witness in human rights hearings, including the 2008 trial of Peru’s former President Alberto Fujimori that ended in his conviction for crimes against humanity; the Guatemalan genocide case and the case of the 1989 assassination of the Jesuits in El Salvador, both before Spain’s National Court; the 2010 trial of Guatemalan police officials for the disappearance of labor activist Edgar Fernando García in 1984; and multiple hearings before the Inter-American Human Rights Commission on the “death squad dossier,” charging the Guatemalan government with the abduction and disappearance of dozens of citizens in the mid-1980s.

Ms. Doyle has edited two of the National Security Archive's collections of declassified records - Death Squads, Guerrilla War, Covert Operations, and Genocide: Guatemala and the United States, 1954-1999 and El Salvador: War, Peace and Human Rights, 1980-1994. Doyle also works with citizens groups throughout the Americas on their campaigns for government transparency, accountability and freedom of information, and has written about the right to information in Latin America and the United States. Recently her work was featured in the award-winning documentary Granito, by Pamela Yates and Paco de Onís, which narrates her involvement in the effort to indict former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt for crimes against humanity.

The National Security Archive (http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/) was founded in 1985 by journalists and scholars to check rising government secrecy. It combines a unique range of functions: investigative journalism center, research institute on international affairs, library and archive of declassified U.S. documents, leading non-profit user of the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, public interest law firm defending and expanding public access to government information, global advocate of open government, and indexer and publisher of former secrets. The Archive is housed at George Washington University.

Fredy Peccerelli and the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation

A courageous and innovative forensic anthropologist, Fredy Peccerelli has made crucial contributions to the first-ever conviction of Guatemalan military forces for crimes against humanity. As founding director of the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation (FAFG), Peccerelli leads a team that, over the past twenty years, has exhumed hundreds of mass graves of victims from Guatemala’s Internal Conflict.
Using cutting-edge scientific tools, he has been able to identify victims of the Guatemalan genocide, gathering evidence for use in court and also providing closure to family members. Peccerelli has also created a national DNA database for the identification of victims of forced disappearance. When Fredy was nine, his own family was forced to flee Guatemala for the Bronx, after his father received death threats.
In 1999 Peccerelli was named by Time Magazine and CNN as one of the fifty Latin American Leaders for the New Millennium.In 2006 he was the recipient of the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)’s Human Rights Award and in 2008 he received the Heinz R. Pagels Human Rights of Scientists Award from the New York Academy of Sciences for his work. Like Kate Doyle, Peccerelli’s work was also featured in the award-winning documentary Granito, by Pamela Yates and Paco de Onís, which narrates his involvement as a forensic expert in the efforts to seek justice for crimes against humanity.
The Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation (www.fafg.org) is an autonomous, non-profit, technical and scientific NGO. Its aim is to strengthen the Guatemalan justice system and respect for human rights by gathering evidence, investigating, documenting, and raising awareness about past instances of human rights violations, particularly massacres and extrajudicial killings that occurred during Guatemala’s 36- year-long Internal Armed Conflict. Its main tools in pursuing this goal are the application of forensic anthropology, forensic archaeology and forensic genetic (DNA) techniques in exhumations of clandestine mass graves and the analysis of the remains of victims from the Internal Conflict.

The Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA)
During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) nearly 40,000 men and women from 52 countries, including 2,800 Americans, traveled to Spain to join the International Brigades to help fight fascism. The U.S. volunteers came to be known collectively as the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Founded in 1979, The Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) is a non-profit educational organization that promotes public awareness, research and discussion related to that war and its historical, political, artistic and biographical significance. ALBA has also preserved and cataloged the letters, pamphlets, posters, writings and photographs of the period. The Archives are housed at New York University’s Tamiment Library and are used by scholars and students from all over the world. ALBA also presents cultural and educational programs for high school teachers, working to preserve the legacy of progressive activism of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade as an inspiration for present and future generations.

The Puffin Foundation
Since it was founded in 1983, the Puffin Foundation Ltd. has sought to open the doors of artistic expression by providing grants to artists and art organizations who are often excluded from mainstream opportunities due to their race, gender, or social philosophy. The Puffin, a species whose nesting sites were endangered by encroaching civilization, were encouraged to return to their native habitats through the constructive efforts of a concerned citizenry. The Foundation has adopted the name Puffin as a metaphor for how it perceives its mission, which is to ensure that the arts continue to grow and enrich our lives. In so doing it has joined with other concerned groups and individuals toward achieving that goal. The Puffin Foundation is also a long-standing supporter of ALBA’s educational mission.

xxx | forward to a friend Copyright © *|2012|* ALBA|*, All rights reserved. Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) 799 Broadway, Suite 341 New York, NY 10003 Tel. +1 212 674 5398 Fax. +1 212 674 2101 www.alba-valb.org info@alba-valb.org

 

 
Start Prev 11 12 13 14 15 16 Next End