Humanities Now

March 2022

Women Build

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I have had the pleasure and privilege of meeting some amazing women during my life. When I was small my mother took me to hear the famous singer Marian Anderson. After the concert she introduced me (squirming) and told Miss Anderson that I played the piano. My mother took me to hear Shirley Chisolm, the first African-American woman elected to the U.S. Congress. Again mom introduced me, telling the Congresswoman that her daughter would be a leader one day. Since then I have met the writers Maya Angelou, Ntozake Shange and Alice Walker, civil rights activists and leaders Angela Davis and Eleanor Homes Norton, the dancer Katherine Dunham, and even Rosa Parks. Before these women were famous, they were just women. Women leaders, writers, singers, dancers, teachers, mothers and more. Look around you and appreciate not only those who have come before you, but those who surround you every day. A woman you should get to know is Renee Tajima-Peña, an outstanding and creative filmmaker and professor. What sets her apart is her uncanny ability to see people not seen, and tell their stories. What also sets her apart is that she is an Asian-American woman filmmaker in an industry dominated by men. That did not stop her from moving forward. How fortunate we are to have women who make, do and build things…like nations.

“I’d say where there’s a vacuum, you have to fill it yourself. No women’s stories? Do it. No women directors? Be one.” - Renee Tajima-Peña

Brenda Thomson

Executive Director

History in Real Time: Asian Americans Fight Back in the Age of COVID with Renee Tajima-Peña 


March 25th at 6 PM MST

In-Person Event with Reception starting at 5 PM

Join Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker and activist Renee Tajima-Peña as she connects the rise of anti-Asian violence with the history of Asians in the United States: facing hate, fighting for justice, and shaping the American story. Learn more about the untold stories of the Asian American experience with Renee and Arizona Humanities. 

About the Speaker:

Renee Tajima-Peña chronicles the American scene through documentary films that tell the story of immigrant communities, race, gender, and social justice. Her films include Who Killed Vincent Chin? My America…or Honk if You Love Buddha, Calavera Highway, Skate Manzanar, Labor Women, No Más Bebés. She is the series producer and showrunner of the PBS docuseries, Asian Americans, which explores the Asian American experience. Her work has screened at worldwide film festivals and venues such as Cannes, Hawaii, Hong Kong, London, New Directors/New Films, Sundance, and the Whitney Biennial. She has been awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship, USA Broad Fellowship, and the Alpert Award in the Arts, among many others. Renee also co-founded the May 19 Project, a social media campaign focusing on the legacy of AAPI solidarity with other communities. Renee is currently Professor of Asian American Studies at UCLA, where she is director of the Center for EthnoCommunications and holds an endowed chair in Japanese American studies.

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Register Here!

Now Accepting Nominations for our 2022 Humanities Awards

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Help Us Honor our Humanities Heroes by Submitting Nominations!

Every year, Arizona Humanities honors and celebrates outstanding contributions to the humanities in our state. The Humanities Award categories are: Humanities Public Scholar, Friend of the Humanities, Humanities Rising Star, and Outstanding Speaker.

Award nominations for all categories are welcome from organizations, institutions, community partners, and patrons of Arizona Humanities. Nominations require two (2) letters of recommendation for each award category. To read the complete criteria for each award category and to begin the nomination process, click here

Help us honor humanities champions in the community by submitting a nomination today.

Submit Your Nominations by March 25, 2022. 

Mini Grants Now Open!

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Apply Today!

Arizona Humanities aims to stimulate thoughtful community exchange, build new audiences for the humanities, innovate new methods in the humanities, and advocate for the importance of the humanities for a lively and engaged democratic public. Mini Grants are small grants of up to $2,000 that are available year-round to support innovative public programs that increase understanding of the human experience. Applicants may request up to $2,000. 

Mini Grants are restricted to organizations with budgets of $500,000 or less, larger institutions may partner with a smaller institution that will lead the program or project.

For more information visit our grant opportunities page and view our Mini Grants webinar.

Register for Upcoming Events!

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Caretakers of the Land: A Story of Farming and Community in San Xavier with Jacelle Ramon-Sauberan 


March 16th at 4 PM MST

Virtual Event

Farming has always been the way of life for the Tohono O’odham community in San Xavier, located just south of Tucson. Their way of life depended on access to the land and to the water, namely the Santa Cruz River, which nourished agriculture in the area for generations. But a history of division sown through government land allotments and land development plans, coupled with the declining flow of the Santa Cruz, fractured community farming. How did the community come together to revitalize the land for future generations? What lessons can we learn from their story? Join Jacelle Ramon-Sauberan for a program about land, water, and community in San Xavier.

About the Speaker:

Jacelle Ramon-Sauberan is Tohono O'odham and from the San Xavier District. She currently teaches in the Tohono O'odham Studies Program at Tohono O'odham Community College. Ramon-Sauberan is a Doctoral Candidate in American Indian Studies with a minor in Journalism at the University of Arizona. Her research focuses on the history of land and water in the San Xavier District and she has written for news publications across the US including Indian Country Today Media Network. Ramon-Sauberan is also an information specialist for the National Science Foundation’s AURA/NoirLab.

Register Here!

“The Desertification Cookbook”: Revitalizing Desert Wasteland through Land Art 

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April 6th at 6 PM MST

In-Person and Virtual Hybrid Event

Development in desert cities has created new homes and opportunities in the Southwest, but has also stripped away parts of the natural environment and its rich history. Can urban pockets of degraded land be revitalized? Can the history and the ecological value of these places be reclaimed sustainably? The answers may lie in a 30-year land art project in Pueblo, Colorado. Matt Garcia and April Bojorquez, artists, educators, and founders of DesertArtLAB, transform “wasteland” into a productive and edible landscape in their public art initiative: “The Desertification Cookbook.” They bring together art and place, ecology and community, in an ambitious multi-phase project set to span decades. Join us for a conversation with Garcia and Bojorquez as they discuss the development of their land art project, from its roots in Phoenix to its realization in Pueblo.

About the Speaker:

DesertArtLAB is an interdisciplinary environmental arts collaborative co-directed by April Bojorquez and Matt Garcia. Their work promotes Indigenous/Chicanx perspectives on ecological practice, food sovereignty, self-determination, and climate change. DesertArtLAB’s projects activate public space through participatory artworks and support the restoration of desert environments and their foodways through zero irrigation regrowth projects. DesertArtLAB have presented their work nationally and internationally at Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France; The Museum of Contemporary Native Art, Santa Fe, NM; the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, Galería de la Raza (San Francisco), among many others.April and Matt are recipients of the Creative Capital award and were 2021 Mellon Artists in Residence at the Colorado College Fine Arts Center Museum; they live and work in Pueblo, Colorado.

Register for In-Person Here!
Register for Virtual Here!

Welcome Gail Rhodes! Returning FRANK Talks Facilitator

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Gail Rhodes is a PhD student and an adjunct professor at the Cronkite School at Arizona State University with more than 16 years of professional experience working as a television reporter. She worked for the Fox Sports Network in Chicago and helped to launch the Comcast Sports Network. Rhodes has been an adjunct professor for Cronkite since 2014, where she teaches advanced television sports reporting, and advanced topics in sports media. Her doctoral studies focus on the intersection of sports culture, media and society.

A Free Press: Cornerstone of Democracy

The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects press freedom. Freedom of the press is important because it plays a vital role in informing citizens about public affairs and monitoring the actions of government. But what happens when public trust in the media is eroded by sensationalism, foreign influences or bots, fake news, and business monopolies? Who makes the news and what is newsworthy? Is non-partisan news coverage based on facts even still possible? What is the role of the media in keeping us informed today, and who is accountable when intentional misrepresentation occurs? Join us for a critical look at the impact of the media in a democratic society.

Check back soon as we add new FRANK Talks topics! Learn more here.

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International Women's Day & Women’s History Month Events


In honor of International Women's Day and Women’s History Month, Eventbrite is showcasing virtual events made for anyone to learn, celebrate, inspire change, and empower women everywhere. 

Learn More and Celebrate

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture Grants Program​


Upcoming Opportunities and Grants Applications are here!

The City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture believes that investing in arts and culture builds community and enhances the quality of life for residents. The Office provides a variety of funding opportunities that enable artists, arts and culture organizations, schools, and neighborhood groups to carry out high quality public arts programming for all residents.

The annual Community Arts Grants program, which is an allocation from the city’s general fund of just under $1 million, strengthens the community’s access to arts and culture programming, and provides support in this program in two distinct ways: The General Support program and the Project Support program.

You can learn about them both and their application timeline by clicking here!

Learn more here!

March Programs

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Attend 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 discussions. The purpose is to connect people to one another to talk about current issues affecting our communities. Click the links below to learn more about the events.

🧑 In-person events

📹 Virtual events

📹/🧑 Hybrid events offered both in-person and virtually

📹 More than Pocahontas and Squaws: Indigenous Women Coming into Visibility March 2 at 6 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Phoenix Public Library

📹 Who We Were, Who We Are: The Evolution of Terminology in Navigating Differences March 8 at 10 AM MST | Co-Hosted by Vista Grande Library

📹 Diggin’ in the Crates : The Role of Community Archives in Suburban History March 8 at 5:30 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Copper QueenLibrary

📹 Flying Through Arizona: The Story of the First National Women’s Air Race March 8 at 6 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Flagstaff City – Coconino County Public Library

📹 Why Arizona Dark Skies Matter March 9 at 11 AM MST | Co-Hosted by City of Surprise

🧑 Chiles & Chocolate: Sweet and Spicy Foods in the American West March 10 at 6 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Mesa Public Library District – Main Branch

📹/🧑 Teresa Urrea, the 19th-Century Mexican Mystic, in the Novel and the Newspaper March 17 at 1 PM MST | Co-Hosted by The Museum of Casa Grande

🧑 Desert Rats, River Runners, and Canyon Crawlers: Four Arizona Explorers March 18 at 1:30 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Casa Grande Public Library – Downtown Branch

📹 The Evolution of an Icon–The History of Arizona Highways Magazine March 19 at 10 AM MST | Co-Hosted by San Tan Historical Society

🧑 Dog Whistle Language in the Media: How Can We Hear It? March 19 at 1 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Florence Community Library

📹 The Underground and Overground Railroad March 19 at 2 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Pima County Public Library – Kindred Team

🧑 The Other Epidemic: Gun Violence and Mass Shootings in America March 21 at 6:30 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Glendale Public Library – Foothills Library

🧑 Chiles & Chocolate: Sweet and Spicy Foods in the American West March 22 at 2 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Coolidge Public Library

🧑 Southwest Rock Calendars and Ancient Time Pieces March 23 at 5:30 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Mohave Community College – Lake Havasu Library

📹Black Woman Rising: African American Community Mothers in Phoenix March 24 at 12 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Pima County Public Library - Kindred Team

🧑 From “Chief” to Code Talker: Four Profiles of the Navajo Code Talkers March 26 at 1 PM MST | Co-Hosted by The Phippen Museum

📹 Race, Privilege and Access to Education Resources March 28 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

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Choose Your Move- Virtual Event

March 5

Join team MASK, on March 5th, for a virtual event to raise funds and awareness on social issues facing youth. Take an hour to move for a cause or in honor of someone who has been bullied, suffers from mental health issues or has been affected by substance abuse. Hit a hiking trail, walk in your neighborhood, play a sport, dance, do yoga in the park.. whatever you choose. Just MOVE!!! Learn more here.


The Tribal archaeologist’s Duties with a Focus on Ancestral Territories and Traditional Cultural Places

March 8 at 7 PM MST

The Indigenous Interests Online Presentation Series is designed to provide an avenue for communication between Native Americans and non-Indians that can result in more understanding of each other’s cultures, traditions, histories, viewpoints, philosophies, and ways of life. The presenters, all members of Native Nations, will share their thoughts about the human experience; what it means to be human and Native American; how peoples of different cultures relate to one another; comparative religions, ethics, history, jurisprudence, language acquisition and retention, and philosophy; and how Native Americans view the archaeologists and anthropologists who study them. Learn more here.

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Mis Amores Fronterizos

March 12 at 6 PM MST

On March 12, 2022, performing and visual artists from both sides of the US/Mexico border will present “Mis Amores Fronterizos,” the product of a multi-year collaborative, community-engaged research and exploration process. Over the past three years, the ensemble has conducted over 50 community story circles, interviews, and workshops. “Mis Amores Fronterizos,” represents the culmination of this process. Co-created by community members and artists on both sides of the border, the production features creative interpretation of local narratives through dance, theatre, and visual arts. Mis Amores Fronterizos will be held at the Douglas/Agua Prieta Border Fence, West of Port of Entry and admission is free and open to all.


Banking while Black

Starting March 15

Banking While Black is a multimedia interactive physical and virtual art installation created by artist and activist Paul Rucker. The project blends art and history to tell stories of the Black Wall Streets of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Durham, North Carolina and Richmond, Virginia, including stories of Black excellence that blossomed in those communities before they were erased. The interactive bank experience is enriched with trivia that explores the systemic racism and economic violence inflicted on Black Americans in the past and present. Learn more here.


How Do Homelands Cross Borders?

March 16 at 7 PM MST

To leave your birthplace behind and make a home elsewhere is to cross any number of boundaries—national and linguistic, religious and spiritual. While loss is an inevitable part of this journey, it’s not just about displacement; it is also a story of cultural change and celebration. Migrants and immigrants find new ways to balance assimilation and tradition—and to create entirely new identities. This reinvention happens at home and out in the world, and cuts across religion, food, and art. Its impact is as personal as it is global. How do people who are separated from their homelands reinvent cultural practices in their new communities? How does cultural identity change across generations and over time? Learn more here.


A Brief History of Phoenix

March 17 at 2 PM MST

Though the new metropolis is one of America’s largest, many are unaware of Phoenix’s rich and compelling history. Built on land once occupied by the most advanced pre-Columbian irrigation society, Phoenix overcame its hostile desert surroundings to become a thriving agricultural center. After World War II, its population exploded with the mid-century mass migration to the Sun Belt. In times of rapid expansion or decline, Phoenicians proved themselves to be adaptable and optimistic. Phoenix’s past is an engaging and surprising story of audacity, vision, greed and a never-ending fight to secure its future. Chronicling the challenges of growth and change, fourth-generation Arizonan Jon Talton tells the story of the city that remains one of American civilization’s great accomplishments. Learn more here.


Morgan Lucas Schuldt Memorial Reading: Marwa Helal & Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

March 17 at 7 PM MST

The Morgan Lucas Schuldt Memorial Reading features emerging and innovative poets and is presented annually as part of the Poetry Center’s Reading and Lecture Series. Marwa Helal is the author of Ante body (Nightboat Books, 2022), Invasive species (Nightboat Books, 2019), the chapbook I AM MADE TO LEAVE I AM MADE TO RETURN (No Dear, 2017), and winner of BOMB Magazine’s Biennial 2016 Poetry Contest. Helal is the winner of a 2021 Whiting Award. Born in Al Mansurah, Egypt, she lives everywhere. Marcelo Hernandez Castillo is a poet, essayist, translator, and immigration advocate. He is the author of the collection Cenzontle (2018), which won the 2017 A. Poulin Jr. prize, and the chapbook Dulce (2018). His memoir, Children of the Land (2020), is his most recent publication. His work has appeared or been featured in The New York Times, PBS Newshour, People Magazine en Español, The Paris Review, Fusion TV, Buzzfeed, Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts, New England Review, and Indiana Review, among others. He currently teaches in the Low-Res MFA program at Ashland University. Learn more here.


“Third Thursday Food for Thought” program featuring “The Sinagua: Fact or Fiction?”

March 17 at 7 PM MST

“Sinagua” is the name first coined in 1939 to refer to the pre-European people who inhabited the Flagstaff region of north-central Arizona. But what, exactly, does this mean? Does Sinagua refer to a geographic area, a specific kind of pottery, an actual grouping of people, or is it something else? These are difficult questions this presentation will attempt to explore. The Sinagua archaeological area of Arizona has been considered a cultural “frontier,” characterized as a blend of other cultures, yet unique enough to warrant its own cultural designation. However, over the years, this uniqueness dissolved as old interpretations were no longer satisfactorily explaining what archaeologists were finding. Learn more here.


INTERPRETATIONS: Art and Music through a Humanities Lens

March 20 at 2 PM MST

What will make this event special is that everyone will experience the juxtaposition of paintings and live music at the same time. Central Arizona Flute Ensemble will provide live music that relates to fine art images projected on a screen or in the art exhibition. Together, we will build meaning, make sense, understand, create dialogue, change perspective, and offer insight about how artists and composers express their ideas, and how audiences process them. Learn more here.


Who Killed Malcolm X? How a Netflix Documentary Led to a Historic Exoneration

March 23 at 3 PM MST

Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, an unpaid, freelance researcher, spent years investigating the question of who actually assassinated Malcolm X—a lonely quest portrayed in the hit 2020 Netflix documentary "Who Killed Malcolm X?" The documentary, which identified the assassin, spurred the Manhattan prosecutor to reopen the case and, in late 2021, to exonerate two men (one of whom is still alive) wrongly convicted and imprisoned for 20 years for the slaying. Arguably the greatest living expert on Malcolm X, Mr. Muhammad will soon be doing another documentary for Netflix and is writing a book about the assassination. Learn more here.

Humanities Across the Nation


Lynnette Overby Joins the National Council on the Humanities

Lynnette Young Overby, professor of theater at the University of Delaware and director of the university’s Community Engagement Initiative, was sworn in today as a new member of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)’s advisory board, the National Council on the Humanities. Learn more here.

Thank You to Our February Donors

Susan Johnson-Ash and Greg Ash

Julie and Trevor Ebersole

Sallie McCutcheon

Bernadette Montemayor

Eshé Pickett*

Martin Stamat*

American Online Giving Foundation, Inc.

*Board Member

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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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