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Robert Garcia, Esq., founding director and counsel for City Project in Los Angeles, is the featured keynote speaker for “Deepening Understanding,” the 46th anniversary luncheon of the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum. The luncheon, a fundraiser for the museum, will take place Friday, Sept. 15, at noon at the National Press Club Ballroom.
Inspired by the museum’s new mission adopted in 2009, the theme of the benefit refers to the evolution of the nation’s first federally funded community museum from a specific ethnic focus to one focusing on issues that impact urban communities. The luncheon is organized by the museum’s advisory board, chaired by James Larry Frazier and proceeds will benefit the museum’s exhibitions and public programs. For ticket information and sponsorship opportunities, the public may call (202) 633-4875, email ACMinfo@si.edu or visit anacostia.si.edu.
“This year’s luncheon theme is a reflection of the museum’s new vision for the future… to be a catalyst for critical thought and discussion about issues that impact people living in urban environments —addressing unique distinctions as well as universal connections,” said Camille Giraud Akeju, director of the museum. The event also celebrates the museum’s groundbreaking new mission exhibition extended to Nov. 3, “Reclaiming the Edge: Urban Waterways and Civic Engagement,” which examines citizens’ efforts to restore rivers—including the Anacostia River, Washington’s “other” river—in six urban communities worldwide as well as the cultural, historical and ecological importance of such waterways.
City Project, a non-profit legal and policy advocacy organization, has been hailed for its work to restore the Los Angeles River and community access and the organization’s success story, led by Garcia’s legal advocacy strategy, is featured in the museum’s “Reclaiming the Edge” exhibition. A civil rights attorney, Garcia engages, educates and empowers underserved communities to achieve equal access to public services including park, education and health resources and he has been recognized as one of the 100 Most Influential U.S. Hispanics “…who are changing the nation ” by Hispanic Business Magazine among many honors. Called a “civil rights giant” Stanford Law School, his alma mater, Garcia’s work has influenced the investment of over $41 billion in neglected communities. A former assistant US attorney in New York State and a regional counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc., Garcia has taught at Stanford and UCLA Law schools and lectured and published extensively on equal justice, democracy and livability.
Majora Carter of the Majora Carter Group, is honorary chair for the benefit. An eco-entrepreneur, urban revitalization strategist, Peabody Award-winning radio broadcaster and the keynote speaker for the museum’s 25th Martin Luther King Memorial Program in 2012, Ms. Carter has received accolades for her pioneering work on environmental issues in New York City and other urban communities nationally.
Architect/Urban Planner Dorn McGrath will be awarded the John R. Kinard Leadership in Community Service Award during the event. McGrath is professor emeritus of urban planning and geography having retired from George Washington University after 33 years on the faculty. Kinard was founding director of the Anacostia Community Museum from its inception until his death in 1989.
Receiving the Anacostia Community Museum Community Service Award is Theresa Howe Jones, chairperson of the founding board of the Anacostia Community Museum and a current advisory neighborhood commissioner for Single Member District 8D07. The Anacostia Community Museum Volunteer Appreciation Award will be given to Sylvia Jones, a long-time museum docent and former environmentalist and educator.
The luncheon affair also includes an online and silent auction which includes work by renowned artists among the many items available. Reprising her role as mistress of ceremonies is Maureen Bunyan, weeknight anchor for WJLA-TV7 who will be joined by her co-anchor, Leon Harris as master of ceremonies for this year’s event. Sponsors of the museum’s 46th anniversary luncheon include ACM board members Phillip Omohundro, MD, Donna Gambrell and Larry Frazier, Anacostia Coordinating Council, ADA, Inc., CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield and the Law Offices of Wendell C. Robinson.
The Anacostia Community Museum opened in southeast Washington in 1967 as the nation’s first federally funded neighborhood museum. Adopting its current name in 2006, the museum has expanded from a solely African American emphasis to a focus on social and cultural issues impacting urban communities. For more information on the museum, the public may call (202) 633-4820 or (202) 633-5285 (TTY); for tours, call (202) 633-4844.
About the Anacostia Community Museum
Established in 1967 as the nation's first federally funded neighborhood museum, the Anacostia Community Museum focuses on examining the impact of social issues on contemporary communities. For more information, the public may call (202) 633-4820, (202) 633-1000; for tours (202) 633-4844.
Marcia Baird Burris (202) 633-4876; (202) 320-1735 (cell)