Humanities Now
July 2021
Langston Hughes
What Does Freedom Mean to You?

I have been thinking about freedom and democracy a lot these days. I feel privileged to have a home, a job, an education, a life. Is that what freedom is? I know that many people have none of these. I pass by them every day, sitting on the hot sidewalk, pushing their belongings in a cart, or standing in line for bottled water. We live in the same country. How can it be so different? The poet Langston Hughes believed in humanity and hoped "for a world in which people could sanely and with understanding live together." He traveled the world and his poems captured what he saw, the hopes and fears, the sorrows and belly laughs, the loves and losses, the dignity and value of all people everywhere. There is a message for us in his words. Believe in humanity. Act on your beliefs. Freedom needs

"Freedom will not come
Today, this year
Nor ever
Through compromise and fear.

I have as much right
As the other fellow has
To stand
On my two feet
And own the land.

I tire so of hearing people say,
Let things take their course.
Tomorrow is another day.
I do not need my freedom when I'm dead.
I cannot live on tomorrow's bread.
Is a strong seed
In a great need.
I live here, too.
I want my freedom
Just as you."

                                                                                     Langston Hughes

Brenda Thomson
Executive Director

Atascosa Highlands Revisited
A Shifting Landscape at the U.S. - Mexico Border

Along a remote stretch of the U.S. - Mexico border lies the mountainous terrain of the Atascosa Highlands in the Coronado National Forest. Abundant in biological diversity, the Atascosa Highlands are home to numerous species of flora and fauna. When documentary photographer Luke Swenson and ecologist and writer Jack Dash embarked on a botanical survey of the area in 2017, they found that the rugged landscape was defined not only by its rich ecology but also profoundly shaped by human activity. They developed a transdisciplinary storytelling project, Atascosa Borderlands, to document the complex natural and cultural history of the region. Their work is layered with original film photographs, oral history interviews, found artifacts, floral specimens, and more, creating a textured record of an environment undergoing dynamic transformation from human migration to border wall construction to climate change. Join Luke and Jack for a conversation about the evolution of their project, from its beginnings to future explorations as they prepare return to the Atascosa Highlands.  Register here.
Apply for American Rescue Plan Grants
American Rescue Plan - New Grant Funds Available!

Dear Friends of Arizona Humanities:

We are fortunate to receive new federal funding to help cultural organizations statewide continue their recovery from the COVID pandemic. These funds may be used for both programs and operational support for humanities-focused cultural nonprofit organizations. More details, including grant guidelines, FAQ webinar, and application, are available on our website.

Please note that applications are now open. The first round of applications close July 30, 2021. The second round of applications closes on Aug. 31, 2021. For questions please e-mail Samantha Anderson at or call 602-257-0335. Apply here.
Hands-On Humanities Award Winners!
Arizona Humanities 2021 Award Winners

Every year we honor and celebrate outstanding contributions to the humanities in our state. Since the inaugural awards in 1990, Arizona Humanities has recognized individuals who have advanced the humanities in Arizona through their scholarship, leadership, support and advocacy. This year, our theme is Hands-on Humanities. All of this year's winners are hands on humanitarians, meaning they engage the community in their efforts to promote the humanities in Arizona. Learn more here.
Call for AZ Speaks Presenters
The AZ Speaks 2021-22 new speaker application is now open!

AZ Humanities is looking for new speakers and topics for our longest running and most popular program, AZ Speaks! Our speakers collaborate with cultural and educational organizations, including public libraries, museums, and historical sites in Arizona to bring humanities programs to communities across the state. Speakers are humanities scholars and community leaders who are eager to share their expertise on diverse topics and foster engaging public programs. Online applications are due July 16, 2021. For more details about eligibility and applying, click here.
Book our new FRANK Talks
New FRANK Talks Topics!

AZ Humanities is happy to announce two new FRANK Talks and our new speaker, Derek Keith. Check out the titles below and learn more!

"Gang activity. The war on drugs. Tough on crime. They are taking our jobs. They are bad drivers. They are lazy. They are good people." What images do these phrases and terms conjure in your mind? What does the media suggest with these coded phrases? Suggestive language, or "dog whistle" language, uses specific terms to signal ideas to us that we subconsciously internalize. How can we begin to actively analyze all parts of the language we hear in the news to become more critical listeners? What are the facts, and what are myths or stereotypes about different genders, cultures, races? This discussion will help participants recognize the harmful language that we hear every day, and learn more about how language can be used to promote false narratives and perpetuate discrimination.

Public education resources are meant to be equally accessible to all students. But intentions do not always match reality. Why do some students excel in the classroom and not others? How were the standard measurements for "intelligence" created, and why do they impact students of color differently? Research demonstrates that testing, and consequently differential treatment, can impact the way students perform, their opportunities for achievement, and sense of self-worth. Educational outcomes for all students are influenced by the history, social context, and norms reflected both in the curricula and the classroom. Who "behaves well," who is "smart," and who "shows promise," can reflect both implicit and explicit bias. What does this bias look like? What barriers and inequities does it create to getting a good education? How can we eradicate systemic bias and barriers? Join us for a lively discussion on ways to improve educational access and equity.
July Programs
Attend virtual AZ Humanities Programs

AZ Speaks are 60-minute presentations hosted by non-profits, libraries, educational institutions, and governmental and tribal entities to engage the public in humanities-based topics. FRANK Talks span 60-minutes and are highly interactive. The purpose is to connect people to one another to discuss current events. Click the links below to learn more about the events.

The Science of Music, the Music of Science July 13 at 1 PM MST | In-Person Event Co-Hosted by Sierra Vista Public Library

Listening through the Fear: Understanding Extremism in America July 14 at 6 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Prescott Public Library

Our Right To Assemble: The History of Protest and Civil Disobedience in the U.S. July 17 at 11 AM MST | Co-Hosted by Avondale Public Library

A Story, A Story: Ananse tales to Live By July 22 at 3 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Buckeye Public Library

An Uneven Landscape: Inequities in Transportation, Community Planning and Land Management July 26 at 6 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Glendale Public Library

Are you a non-profit, library, educational institution or governmental and tribal entity interested in hosting a program?

Visit our website to learn more about our exciting new list of topics. We can help you cross-market these programs to the public. 

To schedule a program or to learn more, contact Julianne Cheng at or call (602) 257-0335 x26.
Humanities Programs in the Community
The Angel Hair Collection

July 6 - September 25

This exhibition presents materials from a major recent library acquisition, the Angel Hair Books Collection, the brainchild of poets Anne Waldman and Lewis Warsh, who started the imprint in New York City in the spring of 1966 at just 20 years old. They would go on to become iconic figures of poetry's New York School in their own right, and the books and journal they published through Angel Hair chart major shifts in mid-century poetry. This exhibition invites the public to view a sampling from their astonishing collection, including chapbooks, broadsides, and archival press ephemera. Learn more about the UArizona Poetry Center event here.
Oh My God, What Was That?

July 9 at 10:00 AM MST

Lou Giaccardo, father of two boys, who was on the 87th floor of the South Tower when the first plane struck the North Tower. With the aid of fellow employees he was able to clear approximately 40+ people off the floor before the second plane hit the South Tower. He made his way to safety getting out of the South Tower approximately 25 minutes before it fell. He now gives speeches each year about 9/11 in hope that people never forget and to educate the students who were not alive when this happened or too young to remember. Register for the Arizona Jewish Historical Society event here.
Lunchtime Virtual Lecture: Frontline Women in Arizona

July 12 at 12:15 PM MST

The Frontline Women presentation explores the important contributions of Arizona women to the nation's success during times of crisis and specifically during World War Two.  Seldom in the limelight but working on the frontlines day and night, these women paved the way for generations of women to come.  The presentation includes film segments from director Katrina Parks' film series Route 66 Women and excerpts from her podcast "Frontline Women".   It will feature a conversation with historians Heidi Osselaer and John Westerlund along with Katrina. This event is made possible with support from Arizona Humanities. Learn more about the Riordan Mansion event here.
Indigenous Woman Coming Through: How I Went from Educator and Community Organizer to Elected Official

July 13 at 7:00 PM MST

Pima County Recorder Gabriella Cázares-Kelly (Tohono O'odham) discusses the significance of her wins as a "non-traditional candidate" in the 2020 Pima County, Arizona, primary and general elections. She will share how she was inspired to run, unexpected barriers she encountered during her campaign, and what she and her staff are currently working on now that she's in office. Learn more about the Old Pueblo Archaeology Center event here.
ANCIENT SNAPSHOTS: Verde Valley Family Life from the 11th to 14th Centuries

July 14 at 6:00 PM MST

Ever wonder what Arizona was like one thousand years ago? Step back and discover how ancient people in the Verde Valley of Central Arizona lived through a showcase of some of the 50,000 artifacts recovered from the Dyck Cliff Dwelling in Rimrock, Arizona. The program offers a snapshot of daily life including shelter, diet, tools, household goods, clothing, and leisure time activities. The collection of artifacts and ancient food remains from the Dyck Cliff Dwelling provides a rare window into the Verde Valley's ancient past. Learn more about  the Arizona Historical Society event here.
Talking Turkey: Domestic Turkeys in the US Southwest's Archaeological Record (and a Little on Them Today)

July 15 at 7:00 PM MST

Join archeologist* Sharlot Hart as she recounts the history of domestication and husbandry of turkeys in the American Southwest and Mexican Northwest (SW/NW). Ancient turkey use has been well recorded since about 1 CE. While macaws are known to have ceremonial connections and are distributed along trade networks in the SW/NW, traces of turkeys largely are found in areas where wild turkeys abound. Discover the husbandry practices and reasons behind turkey domestication yesterday and today. Learn more about the Old Pueblo Archaeology Center event here.
Myles Miller - Five Millenia of Living on the Landscape of the Jornada Mogollon Region of Southern New Mexico and West Texas

July 19 at 7:00 PM MST

Four decades of archaeological research in the Jornada Mogollon region of southern New Mexico and far west Texas has revealed a rich record of past lifeways. Archeological sites ranging in age from the Archaic to Historic period are well-represented, and among these periods are site types including shrine caves, pithouse villages, pueblos, and Spanish missions. For much of the prehistoric sequence of the past 5,000 years, we can now link broad patterns of prehistoric settlement adaptations and social change to the iconography inscribed and painted on rock faces, ceramics, and other items. Learn more about the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society event here.
Revealing History: A Look at Community Through Arizona's Historical Newspapers

July 24 at 2:00 PM MST

Using headlines, editorials, political cartoons, and photojournalism, Sativa Peterson of the Arizona State Library will give a free, interactive presentation introducing attendees to Arizona's historical newspapers; to the publishers and journalists who helped establish news writing in the early days of Arizona statehood; and to some of the defining moments in state history that they covered. She will also demonstrate how to do one's own searching so that attendees can continue to explore historical newspapers on their own. Register for the Old Trails Museum event here.
Free Time: Building Community for Incarcerated Writers

July 31 at 11:00 AM MST

This free workshop will meet online each month to pair artists in Tucson and surrounding communities with incarcerated writers across the country who are looking for guidance, mentorship, and collaboration through regular correspondence. Workshop leader Joe Watson will offer participants advice on how to best encourage and offer compassionate criticism to their incarcerated friends and will suggest notable works written by people who are/have been incarcerated or who have direct experience with the punishment system to share with those inside. Watson will also review developments within the criminal justice reform and prison abolition movements and offer time to participants who want to share work by the incarcerated writers with whom they are corresponding. Learn more about the UArizona Poetry Center event here.
Humanities Across the Nation
NEH Announces American Rescue Plan Funding for State and Jurisdictional Humanities Councils
"We are delighted to welcome Briann Greenfield, who brings to NEH a wealth of experience in the study and conservation of material culture, museum and nonprofit management, and strategic planning," said NEH Acting Chairman Adam Wolfson. "We look forward to her dynamic leadership of NEH's Division of Preservation and Access." The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced it has distributed $51.6 million in funding to the 56 state and jurisdictional humanities councils and interim partners, the agency's first awards under the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021. These funds will support humanities organizations, programs, and professionals at the local level, advancing economic recovery within a cultural sector devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. A state-by-state breakdown of funding to each humanities council is available here. Learn more here.
Thank You to Our June Donors
James Blasingame*
Norman Hamrick
Karl Kendall*
Andrew Krahe
Debbie Nez-Manuel*
Eshé Pickett*
Almira Poudrier*
Joe Ray*
Crys Waddell*
American Online Giving Foundation, Inc.

*Current Board Member

Humanities Now is published monthly by Arizona Humanities.

About Arizona Humanities
Arizona Humanities is a statewide 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the Arizona affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Since 1973, Arizona Humanities has supported public programs that promote the understanding of the human experience with cultural, educational, and nonprofit organizations across Arizona.

Arizona Humanities builds a just and civil society by creating opportunities to explore our shared human experiences through discussion, learning and reflection.

To request this or any other agency publication in an alternative format, contact Arizona Humanities at (602-257-0335) or email

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