FARGO, N.D. (November 14, 2017) – As part of the North Dakota Human Rights Film and Arts Festival’s mission to educate and embrace cultural differences, each evening of the film festival at the historic Fargo Theater will begin with a prayer of peace, inspiration and guidance from a different religious faith.

On Wednesday, November 15, Rev. Grace Murray will open the film festival with a Christian invocation. Rev. Murray, a graduate of Duke Divinity School, is pastor of the newly formed People’s United Church of Christ, an open and affirming congregation with a strong social justice mission. A long-time advocate for human rights, she seeks to create space for all voices in our community. Most recently, she was an organizer of the FM Standing for Humanity Rally.

On Thursday, November 16, Mahmoud Toumeh will provide an Islamic invocation to begin the festival. Toumeh, a Syrian-American, is a graduate student at NDSU studying Public Health. He has lived in Fargo for over 13 and a half years. Prior to living in Fargo, Toumeh lived in Syria, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. He is an aspiring physician and human rights activist.

On Friday, November 17, Willard Yellow Bird Jr. will provide a Native American prayer to open the festival. Yellow Bird is the current Cultural Planner for the City of Fargo, and acts as the liaison for the City of Fargo’s Native American Commission.

The North Dakota Human Rights Film and Arts Festival will take place Nov. 13 – 18, 2017, in Fargo, North Dakota. The art exhibition will open on Monday, Nov. 13, at the Spirit Room in downtown Fargo. The exhibition will be available for viewing through Jan. 5, 2018.

22 films from 8 countries will screen at the historic downtown theater in Fargo, North Dakota Wednesday, November 15 to Friday, November 17. The full schedule can be viewed online. Doors open at 6:30, and screenings begin at 7 p.m. each evening. Panel discussions take place nightly after the film screenings. The festival will close on Saturday, November 18 with an Art Reception and Festival Awards Ceremony from 5 – 7 p.m. at Spirit Room.

Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney has proclaimed Monday, November 13 through Saturday, November 18, 2017, Human Rights Week for the City Fargo. Mayor Mahoney encourages the community to observe the week by reading and studying the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and by participating in events that encourage diversity of thought and discussion.

The mission of the North Dakota Human Rights Film and Arts Festival is to educate, engage and facilitate discussion around local and worldwide human rights topics through the work of filmmakers and artists. 2017 is the inaugural year for both the film and art festivals. The festival was founded and is managed by the non-profit The Human Family, an organization dedicated to promoting human rights and social justice through film and art. Support for the festival comes from: the Fargo Human Relations Commission; the Fargo Native American Commission; African Soul, American Heart; Park Co. Realtors; Bell Bank; Himalayan Yak; Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, Kensie Wallner Photography; iPitch.tv; Moorhead Massage and Wellness; and the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition. 

Individual tickets for Wednesday and Thursday night’s screenings are currently available at www.human-family.org. Friday night’s screening has been sold out. For more information about the North Dakota Human Rights Film and Arts Festival, visit the Human Family website, www.human-family.org.

 

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