2018 Reston Multicultural Festival (Photos courtesy Reston Community Center)

Monday, September 20

  • Technology Help (4-6 p.m.) — Volunteers at Reston Regional Library are available to answer questions about technology. Half-hour slots are open for reservations.

Tuesday, September 21

  • (un)disclosed — It’s the last day to enjoy this exhibit, which features the work of Judith Pratt. Visitors can drop by until 5 p.m. at the Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art.

Thursday, September 23

  • Putting the Animals to Bed (6:30 p.m.) — Learn how Frying Pan Farm Park staff put the animals to bed. Bring a flashlight or lantern for this twilight tour. The cost is $10 per person.
  • Girl Power Book Club (7-8 p.m.) — The book club is celebrating its third anniversary this month by returning to in-person meetings. Middle-grade and young adult readers are invited. This month’s book is The Dire Days of Willoweep Manor.

Friday, September 24

  • Friday Night Live! (6:30 p.m.) — This free outdoor concert series returns this Friday. This week’s show features Screaming Monkeys.

Saturday, September 25

  • Reston Multicultural Festival — The annual festival is back at Lake Anne Plaza after a hiatus last year. The festival will include entertainment, shopping, and food.
  • Storytime (11 a.m.) –Laura Renauld reads from her Woodland Friends series at Scrawl Books in Reston Town Center.

Sunday, September 26

  • NatureFest (1-5 p.m.) — This family friend event features animals, plans and insects that live in Runnymede Park. Attendees can move between different natural stations. Free parking is available at the Herndon Police Department.
  • Talladega Nights (7 p.m.) — Enjoy a free screening and popcorn at Reston Metro Plaza. The movie starts at sundown.
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NextStop Theatre actor Joey Ibanez will star in “Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood” (courtesy NextStop Theatre Company)

Herndon’s NextStop Theatre Company will fully reopen this fall with a trio of shows to kick off its eighth season.

Announced on Thursday (July 15), the truncated fall 2021 lineup features the comedy “An Act of God” (Aug. 12-Sept. 5), the action-adventure play “Ken Ludwig’s Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood” (Sept. 10-19), and the ’70s disco musical “Disaster!” (Oct. 7-Nov. 7).

Unlike the one-person show “White Rabbit Red Rabbit,” which gave the theater its first performances in front of an indoor, live audience since the COVID-19 pandemic, the upcoming fall shows will be full-scale productions without a limit on capacity other than the number of seats available in the venue.

“I am so unbelievably excited about sharing the joy of live theatre with our community again,” NextStop Producing Artistic Director Evan Hoffmann said in a news release. “It has been an unbelievably trying time for all of us. So we thought it was only fitting to make our return with a collection of shows that are all about celebrating our ability to face uncertainty with grace, to overcome adversity with conviction, and above all else, our capacity to persevere with compassion and perhaps some humor!”

Individual tickets and packages for the fall season went on sale at 8 a.m. today (Monday), with season packages starting at $80. They can be purchased online or through the NextStop box office at 703-481-5930.

The NextStop stage has been mostly dark since COVID-19 forced theaters across the country to close their doors. The company returned to life gradually with private film screenings and outdoor concerts before experimenting with an online theatrical production this past spring.

The upcoming fall schedule has been pared down from its usual season, which generally consists of six to 10 plays and musicals over the course of a full year, according to the theater’s press release.

In addition, while two shows will be staged at NextStop Theatre at 269 Sunset Park Drive, “Sherwood” will be performed outside instead in a temporary, open-air theater that the company will set up in the Northwest Federal Credit Union headquarters parking lot (200 Spring Street). Northwest Federal Credit Union is sponsoring the production.

Hoffmann and its board of directors “felt it was necessary and appropriate” to take a cautious approach to the new season “as they consider what the organization and theatre in general looks like in the future,” NextStop said in its press release, adding that more information about the spring 2022 season will be shared later this fall.

“Despite all the challenges and hardship, it is impossible to deny that the experience of the last year and a half has taught us so much,” Hoffmann said. “…While I am so eager to see the curtain rise again this Fall, I am even more enthusiastic about the opportunity before us to rebuild in a way that makes us a much stronger institution, a more thoughtful and supportive home for artists, and an even more welcoming and inclusive destination for everyone in our community.”

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Morning Notes

Bob Simon statue through LOVE sign at Lake Anne Plaza (via vantagehill/Flickr)

PIVOT Grant Application Deadline Today — This is the last day for hotels, restaurants, and other local businesses affected by the pandemic to apply for COVID-19 relief funding from Fairfax County’s PIVOT grant program. The application portal will close at 11:59 p.m. [Fairfax County Government]

Pfizer Seeks Approval for COVID-19 Vaccine Booster — Pfizer will request authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine, which it says could boost immunity and help ward off variants if delivered within 12 months. Research suggests the Pfizer shot and other widely used COVID-19 vaccines offer strong protection against the highly contagious delta variant. [Associated Press/WTOP]

Expansion Proposed for Dulles Airport — The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is seeking environmental approval from Virginia to potentially build a new three-story, 535,000 square-foot concourse at Dulles International Airport to support United Airlines. The planned facilities would revamp a “temporary” hub that has been in use since the mid-1980s, but cost is a concern. [Airline Weekly]

Friday Night Live! Returns Tonight — After an unexpected cancellation last week, the Herndon summer concert series will kick off at 6:30 p.m. with Turtle Recall, a band made up of South Lakes High School alumni. Food vendors for this season include Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern, Dominos, and Egg Karne, and FNL has partnered with the local breweries Aslin and Mustang Sally Brewing. [Herndon Rocks]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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A crowd enjoys a concert during the 2019 “Friday Night Live!” music series in Herndon (courtesy Laura B. Poindexter)

(Updated at 3:25 p.m.) After going virtual in 2020 and facing a budget battle this spring, Friday Night Live! supporters will have to wait one more week to get their live music fix.

The organizing committee behind the annual Herndon summer concert series announced in an email sent to supporters at 2:14 p.m. that tonight’s Under the Covers concert, which was scheduled to kick off Friday Night Live’s 27th season, has been canceled.

In an email sent out just before noon today (Friday), the committee says it was recently made aware that the scheduled concert would be taking place at the same time as a memorial service for the three individuals who were murdered at the Parkridge Gardens apartment complex on June 19.

“Out of respect for the grieving family and their memorial service, we are going to lower and carefully monitor our music volume and speaker positioning this evening,” the committee said in the earlier email. “In addition, we have decided that all tips collected tonight will be directed to the family and survivors.”

However, the Town of Herndon informed the committee “just minutes ago” that the Friday Night Live concert will not go forward as planned.

Here is the full statement from the FNL committee:

We are very sad to share that the Town of Herndon informed us just minutes ago that we cannot hold tonight’s event. We worked very hard over the past 48 hours to find a solution where both events could occur and included a plan to help raise funds for the victim’s family.

We apologize to all our partners (band, sound company, beer supplier, and restaurants) who have worked hard to prepare for tonight including hiring staff, loading trucks, and preparing food. Also to our fans who have made plans to be together with us tonight. Hopefully many of you will instead go to some of our downtown restaurants.

We will work hard to try to make sure that next week’s show featuring Turtle Recall goes on as planned.

We hope everyone has a safe and happy Fourth of July weekend.

FNL! Organizing Committee

The Town of Herndon says in a statement that it decided to cancel the Friday Night Live concert due to limited parking and public safety resources:

The Town of Herndon has made the difficult decision to cancel Friday Night Live for tonight, July 2, 2021. This was not an easy decision to make, however, a funeral for three of our beloved community members who lost their lives through a horrific tragedy is being held in the downtown area at the same time. Due to tremendous community interest and support for the family while they grieve and heal, many resources downtown could become overextended, to include available parking and public safety resources. Please understand that this decision was made with the best interest and safety of our community in mind.

Friday Night Live! will instead kick off on July 9 with Turtle Recall. The concert series will run through Sept. 24.

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NextStop Theatre Company actor Curtis McNeil, seen here in “The Mountaintop,” will kick off the company’s run of “White Rabbit Red Rabbit” on June 25 (courtesy Lock & Co. Photography)

Live theater is slowly but surely making its way back to the D.C. area.

While the demands of a theatrical production schedule mean that full-scale, Broadway-style shows like those promised by the Kennedy Center can’t be expected until the fall, some theaters have managed to return to physical stages by turning to more stripped-down works that take advantage of the limitations placed on audience capacities.

Among the organizations taking that plunge is Herndon’s NextStop Theatre Company, which will perform a play on stage in front of a live audience later this week for the first time since the venue closed on March 12, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premiering at 8 p.m. on Friday (June 25), “White Rabbit Red Rabbit” is artistically bold but carries minimal risk from a public health standpoint. Each show features a single actor and will have no more than 30 people seated in the audience.

“Obviously, the decision to return to in person performances was not taken lightly,” NextStop Producing Artistic Director Evan Hoffmann said. “We felt that limiting our audience size from over 100 to just 30 was a good first step that allowed us to proceed, while also being extra careful. We are hopeful that this will be a launching pad for much bigger things in the near future.”

Here is NextStop’s description of “White Rabbit Red Rabbit,” which has been performed around the world in more than 25 languages:

No set. No director. A different actor each night.

Described by The New York Times as a “playful, enigmatic and haunting show,” White Rabbit Red Rabbit is the international hit by Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour. Unable to leave Iran, Soleimanpour tours the world through his words with this unique theatrical experience. Receiving the script in a sealed envelope for the first time onstage, the actor and audience embark on a surprising journey where anything can happen. Veteran NextStop actors will tackle this daring and unexpected comedy that will be unlike anything you’ve experienced before.

Hoffman confirmed that this will be NextStop’s first production inside its theater at 269 Sunset Park Drive, but the company found a variety of ways to stay busy and continue utilizing that space over the past 16 months.

In addition to offering small educational classes last summer, the theater opened for private movie screenings in September, and the company started putting on concerts in the parking lot outside later that month.

NextStop returned to the world of theater on April 30 with the online musical “First Date,” which was filmed on stage and at various locations around Herndon.

The company has scheduled eight performances of “White Rabbit Red Rabbit,” each led by a different actor, concluding with Elena Velasco on July 17. The premiere will star Curtis McNeil, who was previously featured in “The Mountaintop.”

Tickets are now available through NextStop’s website for $25.

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A crowd enjoys a concert during the 2019 “Friday Night Live!” music series in Herndon (Photo courtesy Laura B. Poindexter)

(Updated at 5:15 p.m.) Friday Night Live! — a free concert series held annually in the Town of Herndon — is returning this summer and will be almost back to normal.

After shifting to a virtual season for 2020 due to the pandemic, the series’ 27th season will be in person with 13 concerts between July 2 and Sept. 24.

“We were thrilled with the tremendous support from the community and our sponsors over the past year,” Laura Poindexter, the event’s chair, said in a news release announcing the full series schedule.

The shows will take place on the Herndon Town Green, located behind the town’s municipal building (777 Lynn St.) and adjacent to the Washington & Old Dominion Trail and Herndon Fortnightly Library.

Most of the bands, featuring popular local acts from along the East Coast, play rock ‘n’ roll covers from classic to modern rock.

Here’s the lineup:

“Friday Night Live!” delayed its start this season, hoping for COVID-19 cases to decline and rising vaccinations to justify normal operations.

While organizers previously planned with the expectation that some capacity limits would be required, Poindexter tells Reston Now that the concerts will essentially operate like they did prior to the pandemic, since Gov. Ralph Northam ended capacity restrictions on May 28 and eased mask requirements for fully vaccinated people with some exceptions.

“We believe the community is ready for some sense of normalcy,” Poindexter said.

The events will also have food from local restaurants, along with beer, seltzer, and wine for purchase. Proceeds benefit the Herndon Chamber of Commerce, which produces the concerts, with a portion of tip money from alcohol going to Herndon High School alcohol-free party programming.

In addition to providing some summer entertainment, Friday Night Live! is an economic development initiative intended to promote downtown Herndon and encourage both residents and visitors to support local businesses.

After some debate, the Herndon Town Council approved $20,000 in additional funding for the series as part of its fiscal year 2022 budget.

“I am looking forward to the July 2 kickoff! ” Herndon Mayor Sheila Olem said. “After the past year I know I am ready to see so many people I have missed during the COVID pandemic. Our citizens and visitors as well as our local businesses are looking forward to this event as well.”

Photo courtesy Laura B. Poindexter (@laurabcreative). Angela Woolsey contributed to this report.

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Frying Pan Farm Park’s annual Spring Farm Day has been canceled for the second year in a row due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The fundraiser had been scheduled to take place on May 1, but Friends of Frying Pan Farm Park, the nonprofit that supports the park, announced this morning (Wednesday) that plans have “unfortunately” changed.

Spring Farm Day’s cancellation means that the Friends group has to scramble again to raise the funds need to support the dozens of animals that live at the park in Herndon.

“We’ll lose thousands of dollars Spring Farm Day would have raised. This money would have helped feed our farm animals and support the farm,” the organization said in a Facebook post. “If you can, please make a donation to help replace our lost funding.”

Spring Farm Day typically takes place in May and offers crafts and activities, such as sheep-shearing demonstrations and encounters with the baby farm animals, that highlight the park’s role in showcasing early and mid-20th century farm life.

When the pandemic shut down the event last year, the Friends organized an online fundraiser to collect the $30,000 that the group said is required to feed, care for, and shelter the roughly 100 animals on the farm each year. The fundraiser exceeded its goal, ultimately bringing in $44,254 from 513 supporters.

Frying Pan Farm Park is operated by the Fairfax County Park Authority, but the animals are owned by the Friends group, which is responsible for covering their food, shelter, and medical care.

Both one-time and recurring donations can be made online through the Friends of Frying Pan Farm Park website.

Reston Now contacted Frying Pan Farm Park for a comment on the decision to cancel this year’s Spring Farm Day but has not heard back as of press time.

Photo via Yvonne Johnson

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As temperatures climb this month, the Town of Herndon is encouraging residents to enjoy its parks and trails.

The town’s Parks and Recreation Department launched March Into Parks, an initiative that encourages residents to explore the town’s 11 parks and three trails.

‘Staff has put together physically distanced activities to help you explore and embrace our natural resources. A growing body of research points to the beneficial effects that exposure to the natural world has on health, reducing stress and promoting healing,’ the town wrote in a statement.

Town officials note that every home in the Town of Herndon is within a quarter-mile from a town park.  For each week in the month of March, town staff have suggested several ideas and challenges.

Through March 7, residents are encouraged to find the rock tree on Folly Lick Trail. Between March 8 and 14, residents are challenged to cross the creek using stepping stones at Runnymede Park. Other challenges and options are listed on the town’s website.

A map of the town’s parks and trails is also available online.

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Tuesday, Jan 19

  • Mr (Fictional) President (6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.) – Hail to the fictional chief. A day before a real president gets inaugurated, participate in a virtual conversation with actor Martin Sheen who played President Bartlet in the NBC television drama West Wing. Journalist Ken Walsh will be asking questions about how fictional depictions of government have impacted the real thing and why we view our national leaders the way we do. This event is hosted by the Smithsonian Associates.

Wednesday, Jan. 20

  • Bull Run Festival of Lights  (5:30 p.m.) – While this annual show of glimmery holiday lights was extended well into January, this is the final day for the season. So, bring your family, talk a socially distant walk, and appreciate this extra little bit of joy.

Thursday, Jan. 21

  • Fiber Art  (9 a.m.) – At Reston Community Center in Lake Anne, five local fiber artists are displaying contemporary quilts. Each artist has a different approach, but uses fabric and thread as their medium. Located in the Jo Anne Rose Gallery and runs through the end of February.

Friday, Jan. 22

  • Date Night (5 p.m.) – The Winery at Bull Run has all the pieces for a perfect outdoor but warm date night. A package includes a pair of rocking chairs around a fire pit, two glasses of wine in logos that are yours to keep, and one cozy blanket to snuggle up in together.

Saturday, Jan. 23

  • Hunt for Dinosaurs (1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.) – There are dinosaurs on the loose at Claude Moore Park in Sterling! Join a park naturalist in the search. Afterward, warm up by a campfire and toast some marshmallows (provided, individually wrapped, and Halel available upon request).

Sunday, Jan. 24

  • Notes From the Field screening and Q&A (3 p.m.) – Playwright and actor Anna Deavere Smith (best known for her role as Dr. Nancy McNally in the tv show West Wing) screens her new film “Notes From the Field” about systemic racism in the American justice system. Afterwards, she will appear virtually for a question and answer session.

Photo from distelAPPArath/Pixabay

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Monday, Jan. 11

  • Winter Walk of Lights (5:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.) – Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights in Vienna is now extended a few extra weeks to January 20. Take a socially distant walk through the glittery, wondrous light display.

Tuesday, Jan. 12

  • Family Karaoke (6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) – If you ever held dreams of you and your family traveling around in a colorful bus together singing songs like the Partridge Family, here’s your chance… well, sort of. Grab the mic and join the Fairfax County Public Library for virtual family karaoke. All singing abilities and ages welcome. So, you know, pick an appropriate song.

Wednesday, Jan. 13

  • Virtual Yoga (10 a.m. to 11 a.m.) – Start the day with mindfulness and meditation. Join this virtual yoga session led by Jennifer Eubanks, who runs a local yoga studio, through the Fairfax County Public Library.

Thursday, Jan. 14 

  • Women Who Lead Speaker Series (7 p.m. to 8 p.m.) – Hosted by the Junior League of Northern Virginia, this month’s features Gwendolyn Bingham. She’s a retired US Army 3-star General and was the first woman to hold a number of roles in the Army, including Quartermaster General. There will be time for questions and answers.

Friday, Jan 15

  • Pomegranate-themed oil painting workshop (Noon to 3 p.m.) – Join local artist Suzanne Lago Arthur for a one-day, three-hour oil painting class. Hosted every other month, January’s is themed around the seeded fruit pomegranate. While welcome to work in any media one prefers, the lesson is about oil painting.

Sunday, Jan 17

  • Audubon Afternoon (3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.) – Hosted by the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia, learn about how birds stay warm.  Avian evolutionary ecologist Dr. Sahas Barve will lead this workshop which will perhaps provide some advice to us humans on how to stay warm on this winter’s afternoon.

Photo via Unsplash

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The annual Herndon Festival scheduled for Spring of 2021 has been cancelled due to the pandemic.

Herndon’s Parks and Recreation Department announced the cancellation in a press release yesterday morning. This would have made 41 years that the festival had been held.

Director of the Herndon Parks and Recreation Department Cindy Roeder said she is hopeful that the town will be able to have the festival again in the future.

“We hope that next year this time, we can again be talking about carnival rides and souvenir shirts, funnel cakes and deep-fried turkey legs, community, and fun,” Roeder said.

Last year, the annual festival brought activities such as a carnival, 5K and 10K races and arts and crafts shows.

The entire press release is below: Read More

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The Women’s March is coming to the Town of Herndon this weekend. Three women are are organizing the Herndon Women’s March on Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Herndon Town Green.

Participants will begin at the town green and end their march at the town hall. Masks and social distancing are required.

According to event organizers, the march is essential to preserve the rights of all women.

In the wake of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing, thousands of Women’s Marchers gathered across the country in their communities to honor the life and legacy of the Notorious RBG. Together, we showed the world that this movement is more committed and fired up than ever to carry on the fight for justice and equality that RBG championed for so many years,” according to the event description.

So far, the following speakers have been confirmed for the march:

  • Shyamali Hauth, EVP for the Virginia Equal Rights Coalition
  • Pastor Michelle C. Thomas, President of Loudoun County NAACP
  • Sean Perryman, President of Fairfax County NAACP
  • Senator Jennifer Boysko, District 33
  • Delegate Ibraheem Samirah, District 86
  • Willow Woycke, LGBTQ+ Advocate

Photo by Elyssa Fahndrich/Unsplash

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NextStop Theatre Company is adapting to restrictions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic by kicking off a new fall concert series.

The company plans to kick off an outdoor concert series called “The Parking Lot Concerts” on Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m. Shows will run from Sept. 26 through Oct. 31.

Each performance will include performers from previous NexStop productions, including Robert Mintz, Wood Van Meter, and Sarah Anne Sillers.

NextStop Theatre Company has been closed for public performance since the final weekend of “Ordinary Days” was canceled on March 12.

“With indoor performances cancelled since March, we have missed bringing entertainment and joy to our community!” said Evan Hoffmann, Producing Artistic Director of NextStop Theatre. “But now the wait is over!”

Here’s more from the theatre company on the series:

NextStop will transform the parking lot just outside of their building into an intimate outdoor venue and wine garden, with socially-distant, cafe-style seating for just over 40 patrons. It promises to be a delightful evening under the stars, featuring music, laughter, and a chance to be transported.

Guests are invited to pack a meal, bring take out, and are particularly encouraged to order from one of the many fine local restaurants, such as Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern and A Taste of the World,  some of which will even deliver to the event! NextStop will also offer beer, wine, and other soft drinks at their outdoor bar, arranged specially for these performances. 

With the health and safety of the community being NextStop’s top priority, all staff and guests will be required to wear a mask at all times, except when eating or drinking at their table. There will be 12+ feet of distance between other patrons and the performers.

Tickets are $60 for a table for two. A limited number of standing room single stools are available for $40. More information about the series and how to purchase tickets is available online.

Photo courtesy of NextStop Theater Company

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Fall cleanup (Photo via Town of Herndon website)

Herndon residents looking to throw away any unwanted pieces of furniture, car parts, appliances or other large items will have the opportunity to do so Oct. 21 to 23, during the city’s annual Fall Clean-up.

The Fall Clean-up allows Herndon residents to avoid a trip to the dump by having a day where sanitization workers will collect large trash items. Items for collection should be left on the curbside before 6 a.m. on any day from Oct. 21 to 23, but no earlier than 24 hours before pick-up, according to a press release from the town.

While many large appliances, furniture and other items are available for pick up during the annual clean up, loose yard waste, auto parts heavier than 50 pounds, large quantities of building materials household hazardous items and electronic waste such as computers, televisions, printers and stereos will not be picked up, according to the press release.

Those with questions can contact the Reston Department of Public Works at (703) 435-6856 or email [email protected]

Photo via Town of Herndon website

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The organizers of a Black Lives Matter protest over the weekend are turning to virtual platforms for an online protest this weekend.

Between 9 a.m. tomorrow (Friday) and through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Herndon residents are encouraged to post photos on Facebook in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, with a specific focus on Herndon-related issues.

The online protest is organized by the leaders of last Saturday’sone-mile march through Downtown Herndon that culminated in the town’s green. Protestors took a knee for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed down with his knee onto George Floyd’s neck, resulting in his killing.

A car rally also took place one week ago in order to protest police brutality and support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Participants can share photos, artwork, videos and other visual work. The goal of the project is to create an online slideshow that encapsulates local voices surrounding “social and systemic racial injustice in this country,” according to the organizers.

https://twitter.com/TornadoLizard/status/1269341542403235840

Photo by Logan Weaver/Unsplash

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