Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center Presents June 19th Celebration

To celebrate Juneteenth, the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center is partnering with the Actors’ Repertory Theater of Simi’s Untold Stories Living History Project and artist Jan Glasband to host a very special event on our main stage and gallery on Sunday, June 19 at from 3 p.m. This free event open to the public was made possible by a grant from the California Arts Council.

Juneteenth is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. It is also often observed to celebrate African American culture. Originating in Galveston, Texas, it has been celebrated annually on June 19 in various parts of the United States since 1865.

“We are thrilled to present Simi’s Untold Stories of Repertory Theater living history project and Jan Glasband’s incredible series of social justice graphite drawings in recognition of our June 19th celebration,” said said Fred Helsel, Executive Director of the Cultural Arts Center. “And thanks to the generosity of the California Arts Council, we are able to offer this program free to the public.”

Actors playing social justice leaders Rosa Parks, Malcom X and Maya Angelou will take the stage to share their incredible stories. Afterwards, light refreshments will be served in the Upper Gallery which features artist Jan Glasband’s series of graphite drawings on social justice. The actors and the artist will be present at the gallery exhibition to meet the people present at the event.

Los Angeles actress Tara Cox will portray Rosa Parks. Ms Parks was a civil rights leader whose refusal to give way to a white passenger on a separate bus led to the Montgomery bus boycott. His bravery led to national efforts to end racial segregation. Parks received the Martin Luther King Jr. Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

On September 15, 1996, President Bill Clinton awarded Parks the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor bestowed by the executive branch of the United States. The following year, she received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the US legislature.

Cox will be joined by Ventura County actor Stan McConnell as Malcolm X. Malcolm X was a cabinet minister, human rights activist and prominent black nationalist leader who served as a spokesman for the Nation of Islam in the 1950s and 1960s. Thanks in large part to his efforts, the Nation of Islam grew from just 400 members when he was released from prison in 1952 to 40,000 members by 1960. Articulate, passionate and a natural speaker gifted and inspiring, Malcolm X urged black people to throw off the shackles of racism “by any means necessary”, including violence. The fiery civil rights leader broke with the group shortly before his assassination on Feb. 21, 1965, at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan, where he was about to deliver a speech.

Rounding out the evening, Los Angeles-based actress Regan Carrington will play poet Maya Angelou. Ms. Angelou was born as Marguerite Johnson on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri and grew up in St. Louis and Stamps, Arkansas. Maya Angelou has become one of the most renowned and influential voices of our time. With more than 50 honorary doctorates, Dr. Maya Angelou has become a celebrated poet, memoirist, educator, playwright, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker, and civil rights activist.

Admission to this special celebration is free and open to all Public. For more information, visit www.simi-arts.org or call the Cultural Arts Center at 805-583-7900.

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