Angela Thomas, 201.503.1333, AThomas@njpac.org
NJPAC’s Standing in Solidarity programming moves from the screen to a stage in 2024
Mayor Ras J. Baraka and other experts lead in-person panel conversations on social justice topics
Events mark nearly a decade of PSEG Foundation support for film series
January 3, 2024 – Newark, NJ – New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) will reimagine its long-running social justice conversation series, Standing in Solidarity, as a series of in-person events in 2024.
Launched in 2020, these free monthly conversations and other events focus on a range of social justice topics from voting rights and Native American identity to the impact of racism in the workplace. Many of the programs are part of the PSEG True Diversity Film Series which pairs screenings of socially engaged cinema with provocative, post-screening talks by a panel of activists, academics and journalists engaged with the topic.
“NJPAC took a deep dive into exploring important and complicated social justice issues in 2020, and our commitment to serving as a town square where our community can come together to talk through these challenging topics has only grown over the last four years,” said John Schreiber, President and CEO of NJPAC.
“We are excited to reimagine these programs as in-person gatherings. With our partners PSEG and the PSEG Foundation, we look forward to hosting some passionate, thoughtful and inspiring dialogues when Standing in Solidarity begins its 2024 run.”
Since the program launched in the early months of the pandemic, the series has been convened virtually via Zoom. The sole in-person event — Slavery’s Impact on the Black Experience in New Jersey — was held in June 2023 in honor of Juneteenth.
“Since 2014, the PSEG Foundation has proudly donated more than $2.6 million to NJPAC to purposefully support this unique film platform, empowering diverse audiences through its impactful reach. As we humbly approach a decade of partnership, we’re humbled by this milestone and appreciate our shared dedication to confronting complex social justice issues,” said Calvin Ledford, President, PSEG Foundation, and Director, Corporate Social Responsibility.
“We eagerly anticipate the reimagined program offering attendees firsthand, in-person conversations to explore the complexities of these deeply personal and pressing issues, for greater tolerance and empathy. We look forward to thoughtful discussions and continuing our partnership with NJPAC to champion social justice through the compelling art of storytelling.”
The PSEG True Diversity Film Series was conceptualized in 2014 as a way to build community inclusion and promote tolerance and understanding. Panel conversations followed the screening of issues-based films and documentaries on topics such as racism, criminal justice reform, voting rights and mental health. The first event took place in 2015 with a screening of Jasper, Texas and a panel conversation on the subject of race relations. In 2017 the PSEG True Diversity Film Series evolved from quarterly programs to monthly events.
When Standing in Solidarity was created in the summer of 2020, the PSEG film series became the main vehicle for monthly social justice conversations. Due to the pandemic, the program pivoted to a virtual format in the summer of 2020 and most of the programming has remained on Zoom since that time.
The in-person Standing in Solidarity programs will take place in March, May and June of 2024 and will be livestreamed.
On Mar 4 NJPAC will host a screening of A Tree of Life: The Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting, about the deadliest attack against Jews in the United States, followed by a moderated conversation on confronting antisemitism and other forms of hate through solidarity.
The Mar 27 program is produced by Women@NJPAC — NJPAC’s woman-led philanthropic and professional networking organization — and celebrates the poetry of Nikki Giovanni in honor of Women’s History Month. Participants will watch at home the documentary Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project.
May 6 honors Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with a program on allyship between Black and Asian communities. The film, to be watched in advance, is Far East Deep South about a family’s exploration of Chinese residents in the segregated South. Execution of the event is a collaboration between NJPAC and the New Jersey Chapter of Ascend, the largest Pan-Asian professional membership organization in North America. Michael Hyun, Vice President of Procurement & Deputy General Counsel at PSEG, will moderate the conversation.
“I am thrilled to moderate the panel discussion centered around the film Far East Deep South, a beautiful and deeply personal story of immigration, race and the American identity. I believe this film holds tremendous potential to spark crucial conversations and greater understanding broadly, and especially within communities of color across New Jersey,” said Michael Hyun, PSEG Vice President, Procurement, and Deputy General Counsel. “I am eager to facilitate a meaningful dialogue where we can unite, bridge divides and thoughtfully explore the connection between our shared experiences.”
The season concludes with a Juneteenth celebration on Jun 17 featuring a conversation on the impact of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka, a 1991 graduate of Howard University, will lead the panel discussion inspired by the documentary Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities.
Standing in Solidarity programs on Jan 22 and April 15 remain virtual. The PSEG True Diversity Film Series and panelists for those events will be named at a later date.
New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, is among the largest performing arts centers in the United States. It is the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey — where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day. As New Jersey’s anchor cultural institution, NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the state’s and the world’s best artists while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city. Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts. NJPAC has attracted more than 11 million visitors (including more than two million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents. Visit njpac.org for more information.
About PSEG Foundation
The PSEG Foundation (501(c)(3)), the philanthropic arm of Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) (NYSE:PEG), prioritizes investments in promoting environmental sustainability, social justice, and equity and economic empowerment.