Overcoming Stigma and Ignorance
Schorr Family Award and Community Forum on Mental Illness
1:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 27
UA Centennial Hall
1020 E. University Blvd.
Tucson attorney Si Schorr is on a mission to combat the many stigmas attached to mental illness.
In light of the tragic events of Jan. 8, Schorr has teamed up with professors and experts from the University of Arizona, Columbia University, Harvard University and other institutions to engage audiences with a goal of finding ways to protect the public and help persons with mental illnesses.
"We thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to sponsor a community forum that would include comprehensive programs and questions from the audience, to promote real dialogue," Schorr said.
The forum is set to take place at the large UA Centennial Hall, and Schorr is eager to draw a wide variety of attendees.
"We're hoping that anyone and everyone who is interested in learning more about the issues and challenges of mental illness will attend—not just those who may be immediately affected," he said.
Schorr said that some of the issues up for discussion include predispositions to violence, substance-abuse interplay and assimilation into the public.
Schorr admitted that it may be difficult to combat mental-illness stigmas, but public discussion provides a solid start.
"Besides the question-and-answer segment, we will provide resource guides in respect to these illnesses, and we hope to address many of the changes we need in the system," Schorr said. "Many folks have ideas in their minds about mental illness and its role in the public, but it's time we start communicating and figuring things out."
The forum is free and open to all. —T.K.
Battling Sexual Violence
UA Take Back the Night
5:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 26
Starts at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center
1322 E. First St.
University of Arizona organizations are addressing sexual violence with UA Take Back the Night.
"It's a night where we, as a community, get the chance to come together and say, 'Not in our backyard,'" said Erin Strange, a violence-prevention specialist with the UA's Oasis Program Against Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence.
Strange said that sexual assault is a "chronically underreported" issue, and recent estimates show that one in four people have been affected by sexual assault.
"UA Take Back the Night is really a two-part evening," Strange said. "First off, we will have a march through campus, led by Wilbur Wildcat, with all sorts of signs, chants and drums, followed by a variety of speakers, many of whom offer a global perspective on this far-reaching crisis."
There will also be survivor testimony, which Strange thinks will be one of the most informational and moving aspects of the night.
"Hearing the survivors is always emotional, but it is awesome from my side to see the amount of community support that draws off of it," Strange said.
Many university students and staff members have found positive ways to get involved in Take Back the Night, Strange said.
"This year is especially cool, because each of the fraternities on campus has signed a 'promise to attend' and will have many brothers involved with the night. We also had many people help make the banners and signs for visual demonstration."
The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the parking lot of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center, and will conclude at the UA Women's Plaza of Honor with a community-resource fair, speakers and survivor testimony. —T.K.
Great Music, Great Cause
Fifth Annual JusticePalooza
6 p.m., Sunday, April 24
305 N. Fourth Ave.
For the fifth time, advocates for prison reform are gathering up local musicians to play on their cause's behalf.
The night of music benefits the American Friends Service Committee, a national nonprofit social organization whose local office focuses on Arizona criminal-justice reform and immigrant rights.
Caroline Isaacs, of the AFSC, sees the night as a celebration of the hard work the organization does.
"We wanted to do a fundraising event that took advantage of the incredible musical community in this town," said Isaacs about JusticePalooza's start. "So we started off in my co-worker's backyard, and it just grew over the years, and so it moved to The Hut, so now we can stay up late without annoying the neighbors."
Isaacs has worked with American Friends Service Committee for 11 years. "It's a rare privilege to be paid to do work like this that you are passionate about and is challenging," she said.
All proceeds from the night will benefit the local AFSC office.
"We're not gonna preach," Isaacs said. "We might say a few words here and there between bands, and there might be some literature ... (but) it's really a chance for us to get together and celebrate the work that we do."
Performers are scheduled to include Vanessa Lundon and Tell Me Something Good; The Possibles; Gabriel Sullivan; and Seashell Radio.
"It's such a fabulous privilege for us as an organization to celebrate what makes Tucson such a special place and having people with consciousness who care about the world around them," she said. "... It's a treat to bring them together in one place."
The suggested donation is $8. —J.W.
Strut Your Stuff
Tucson Fashion Week
Wednesday, April 27, through Saturday, April 30
In only its second year, Tucson Fashion Week will feature four days of local modeling and designer talent.
"I think it's something that every designer in Tucson has had in the back of their head for a while," said Elizabeth Albert, founder and director of Tucson Fashion Week. "Last year, it was a birth. ... You try to prepare as much as you can to give birth, but then you give birth, and it's this crazy thing. Now we're in infancy, and we're trying to teach the toddler to walk."
Nine designers will be showing during the week's main runway show (on Saturday, April 30), but Albert said the "teasers"—i.e., the three days of events leading up to the show—will showcase great local talent as well.
Skrappy's, the official beneficiary of last year's week and one of two beneficiaries this year, will showcase young designers on the first night.
Old Pueblo Children's Academy—a Tucson K-8 charter school that Albert describes as "really working hard, but not getting a lot of donations"—will also receive proceeds from the event.
Albert said the support of local businesses has been invaluable in setting up the week—especially the process of changing the week's timing, so it does not conflict with fashion weeks in Scottsdale or Phoenix.
"We want to open that highway between Phoenix and Tucson," she said. "It's really heartwarming that these local businesses really care about us. They are taking a chance on us and are dedicated to our beneficiaries, and it makes you realize why you like Tucson so much."
Times, locations and admission fees vary. Check the website for a complete schedule and more information. —J.W.