Forty Years of Activism
Take Back the Night Tucson
6 to 9 p.m., Wednesday, April 24
Mercado San Agustin, 100 S. Avenida del Convento
A candlelight vigil, keynote speakers and a dance party will highlight this year's Take Back the Night.
Rather than ending the night with the candlelight vigil, the event will begin by commemorating victims of rape and sexual assault and end with a dance party to celebrate Tucson's 40-year-history of activism against sexual violence.
Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault began 40 years ago and has been helping people cope with sexual assault since then. Keynote speakers will talk about how such activism has evolved in Tucson, what has changed and what hasn't changed since.
Montserrat Caballero, community volunteer and former program director for SACASA, said the speakers will also talk about why there is still "such an entrenched rape culture," meaning a culture in which publicity towards rape victims is still often negative in rape cases.
"That's kind of what we mean by rape culture," Caballero said, "just this entrenched belief that if somebody was sexually assaulted it's their fault."
A resource fair provides information from local organizations about what services they provide for the community. A survivor speak-out will allow those who have experienced sexual violence to talk about their experience.
Dance performances will transition the event from the somber candle light vigil to the dance party, where people can just hang out and enjoy the music and food at Mercado San Agustin.
"It's what it means is taking back the night, feeling safe, feeling empowered," Caballero said. "It's to bring the Tucson community together to talk about sexual violence, relationship violence, what can we do as a community?"
Local Youth Originality
Tucson Youth Poetry Slam Championship
1 p.m., Saturday, April 20
UA Poetry Center, 1508 E. Helen St.
A competition this weekend will see local teenagers sharing original poems in an event hosted by Tucson Youth Poetry Slam.
The third annual Youth Poetry Championship will showcase some of Tucson's best young poets in a competition judged by the audience. The event will also celebrate the release of Liberation Lyrics, a compilation of poems regarding social justice issues written by students at Sunnyside and Pueblo high schools.
With more than 20 competitors currently signed on, the competition is the largest youth poetry event in Southern Arizona, and grows every year, said Logan Phillips, the co-director of Spoken Futures, Inc.
Poets taking the mic this year have been working on poems throughout the 2012 to 2013 season, Phillips added. Additionally, the event will host a number of guest poets, including Carlos Contreras, a slam poet from New Mexico.
The competition also serves as a venue for writers to have their message heard, which he said isn't always easy.
"I think that young people and poets in particular in our community are speaking, it's just that many times people don't stop and listen to what they're saying," he said.
While the event is geared toward a very specific type of local art, Phillips added that just about anyone can enjoy this event, and that he's received plenty of positive feedback in the past.
"We're hoping for an audience of people who might not usually give poetry a chance or who might think that poetry is somehow disconnected from the larger issues in our community," he said. "We think that this event in particular will help show that poetry is not a peripheral art form, but at the very core of a vibrant, cultural community."
Touring 'the Soul of Tucson'
Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation Home Tour: Historic Adobes of Barrio Viejo
10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, April 20
Tucson homeowners in Barrio Viejo are opening their doors to the Tucson community for this year's spring annual fundraiser for the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation.
Six historic properties will be part of this year's home tour, all of which reflect development in the 1800s. The neighborhood, which was obliterated during urban renewal, according to Demion Clinco, president of the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation, is about a quarter of its original size now.
"The architecture is really the soul of Tucson," Clinco said. "I mean literally people are going to the Santa Cruz (River) and taking sand and mud ... and building this community."
Those who participate in the tour will be told where to check in once they purchase their ticket. Rather than having a tour guide, participants are handed a map and can visit the houses in the order they chose.
Information about the history of the home and its architecture will be provided for those touring.
Because it's a self-guided tour, participants can also take advantage of the local neighborhood restaurants in Barrio Viejo, such as El Minuto Café and Cushing Street Bar and Restaurant.
The homeowners have been living in the properties for decades and the homes are "beautifully acquainted," according to Clinco.
"The homes are really stunning," Clinco said. "And I see a lot of houses doing what I do and these are ... extraordinary properties."
The Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation focuses on preserving Tucson's architectural environment. All proceeds from the tour go to the foundation.
Tickets are $35 and can be purchased at Hotel Congress, BON or Adobe House Antiques, or at preservetucson.org.
Art and Sustainability
Tucson Earth Day and Water Festivals
9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday, April 21
Reid Park, 900 South Randolph Way
A series of workshops, a parade and an art show will make up this year's Tucson Earth Day and Water Festivals, which will take over Reid Park this Sunday.
The 19th annual Tucson Earth Day Festival aims to be a fun, interactive environment while showcasing ways to keep the Earth green, said Flo Wooters, co-chair of the Tucson Earth Day committee. The event currently has about 85 exhibitors signed up to hold booths at the event, where they will demonstrate ways to live sustainably, including alternative energy vehicles and water conservation.
"It's important because the general public only gets a certain bit of information," Wooters said, adding that Earth Day is a place where attendees can come to learn alternative methods that can really make a difference.
Although this marks nearly 20 years for the Tucson Earth Day Festival and the fourth for the Tucson Water Festival, this is the first year the two have come together at one venue. Earth Day, Wooters added, began as a family event that eventually outgrew its former location at Military Plaza Park. Between both festivals, organizers expect about 5,000 in attendance, said Jodi Netzer, the Water Festival director.
The Water Festival takes a large influence from Tucson's art community, having been sponsored by the Tucson Arts Brigade, and will feature an art show and a water solutions design contest.
The main goal of the festival, Netzer added, is to celebrate water and teach the community fun ways to use it wisely.
"We work in schools and communities and offer arts-based solutions to community needs," Netzer said. "That's really at the core of this."
Below: "Cahuitá / Selvin's Place" (cropped) by Jane Abrams.