My Day at the 5th Annual Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2012-10-15 05:29Z by Steven

My Day at the 5th Annual Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival

Gino Michael Pellegrini: Education, Amalgamation, Race, Class & Solidarity

Gino Pellegrini, Adjunct Assistant Professor of English
Pierce College, Woodland Hills, California

Saturday morning, June 16, 2012: I take the Metro from North Hollywood to the Tokyo Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles. My destination is the 5th Annual Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival at the Japanese American National Museum and the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy. This is a three-day event, but I can be there for just this one day, and my first goal is to meet Steven Riley, the creator of the website, Mixed Race Studies.

I have not attended an event centered upon the mixed experience in many years. I walk through the glass doors. The volunteer staff is welcoming and energetic. The imagery is colorful, ambiguous, and stimulating. The overall vibe is positive and hopeful, and for a moment I am taken aback to how I felt at my first mixed-experience event, the 2000 Harvard-Wellesley Conference on the Mixed Race Experience.

Skeptics say that this type of event, which brings together individuals of diverse mixes and backgrounds, is unsustainable. Do Hapas, blacklicans, latalians, jewasians, and standard black/white multiracials really have that much in common? Apparently many do, and this Festival holds together amazingly well and continues to grow thanks to the diligence, intelligence, and creativity of its founders, Fanshen Cox and Heidi Durrow.

The artists/writers whom I see present or talk to this day have strong personal voices and are very talented at what they do. Overall, their work complicates received understandings of multiracial identity, experience, and art…

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