June Social Justice Calendar 

Thursday, June 5 - Second Story opening

A new initiative to connect writers with school kids will get a boost Thursday with the opening of a storefront space for Second Story in Fountain Square’s Murphy Art Center.

Second Story will offer writing workshops and free tutoring to area youth starting this fall, and the organization is seeking supporters and volunteers. Thursday’s event is both a mixer for likeminded folks and a fundraiser for the organization. An interactive, word-based art project and live music will round out the festivities. All donations will go to support the nonprofit.

A highlight will be the appearance of Real Live Tigers, a band traveling from Austin to support Second Story.

As a writing center for kids, Second Story’s goal is to help youngsters succeed at writing and enjoy the craft.

The celebration starts at 7 p.m. June 5 at 1043 Virginia Ave., Suite 4. The following evening, the space will be open as part of IDADA’s monthly First Friday Gallery Tour.

More info: www.secondstoryindy.org.

Friday, June 6 - Supporting children’s cancer research

A local branch of a philanthropic organization geared toward helping kids with cancer will have its kickoff Friday evening at Tantrum, Indy’s new hip clothing boutique. From 6-11 p.m. June 6, the Massachusetts Avenue store will host the launch party of an Indianapolis chapter of Friends of St. Jude, a group of young business professionals raising funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

According to Tantrum co-owner and Friends of St. Jude board member Jaimie Rae, the launch party is planned in conjunction with the monthly First Friday Gallery Tour and will include a DJ, refreshments and specials on merchandise. Rae hopes the increased foot traffic of First Friday will net new members for the organization.

“Having the opportunity to be a part of something like Friends of St. Jude is amazing,” she says. “Everyone can make a difference. We’re hoping people embrace Friends of St. Jude and want to be a part of something so life changing.”

More info: www.friendsofstjude.org/indianapolis.

Saturday, June 7 - Freewheelin’ celebration

A year has passed since Freewheelin’ Community Bike Cooperative opened its doors to the Mapleton Fall Creek neighborhood. Saturday, June 7, the anniversary will be marked with a community ride, picnic and bike contests for kids.

Founding director Nancy Stimson says 23 kids have earned their wheels through the cooperative’s sweat equity program, where youth build their confidence and competence while building bicycles. Many adults in the neighborhood have purchased the project’s refurbished used bikes at affordable prices.

An ambitious slate of summer programming is planned, including community rides for all ages, “streetsafe” workshops and possibly an overnight camping trip. The party and programming are open to all comers, Stimson says, though the group’s mission is targeted to the surrounding neighborhood.

“There’s no point in learning bike mechanics if you’re not riding your bike,” she points out. “We want to build the neighborhood, and good health these days is so underachieved. If we can improve health and foster friendships in the neighborhood at the same time, terrific.” The environmental impact of people ditching cars for bikes is another boon, she says.

The party will take place from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Tabernacle Presbyterian Church, which houses Freewheelin’.

More info: web.mac.com/gracex3/Freewheelin_Community_Bikes/Welcome.html.

Friday & Sunday, June 6 & 8 - Earthquake relief

Madame Walker Theatre is the scene of two benefits this weekend that seek to provide aid both near and far.

Friday, June 6, Steppin’ for the Hungry Dinner and Dance will take place at 6 p.m. in the theater’s Grand Casino Ballroom. Hosted by the Mozel Sanders Foundation, the event features steppers who use their entire bodies as instruments in a dance form rooted in African-American college fraternities. Proceeds will go toward the foundation’s mobile food pantry. More information: 317-236-2099.

Indianapolis Chinese Performing Arts hosts a variety show at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 8 featuring traditional Chinese music and dance. Ticket sales will support earthquake relief in China’s Sichuan Province.

More info: www.indychineseperformingarts.com.

June 7-14 - Indy Pride

Indy Pride is more than just a parade. It’s an entire week of festivities headlined by the annual Pride Festival at University Park June 14.

From June 7’s Fever game and after-party featuring Indy Pride and the Human Rights Campaign to the June 15 closing dance at the Metro, Indy’s GLBT population will have opportunities to get “out” all week.

Highlights include Pride Skate ’08 with the Naptown Rollergirls June 8, a June 11 town hall meeting at Phoenix Theatre and benefits for the Indiana AIDS Fund and Indianapolis Youth Group. The festival itself will begin with a parade at 10 a.m. June 14 on Massachusetts Avenue.

More info: http://indyprideinc.com/.

Monday, June 23 - CIRTA public meetings

Everyone’s feeling the pinch of high gas prices these days. Ehren T. Bingaman, executive director of CIRTA, the Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority, has found that “people are ready” for new solutions in the mass transit arena.

“Folks are really interested in new ways of getting around our region,” he says. “We can’t move fast enough. I think everyone’s hurting these days. There are a lot of different reasons that motivate people to ride public transportation, but the pocketbook seems to be the one that motivates the most.”

Bingaman will continue a series of community forums about improving and expanding mass transit at 6 p.m. June 23 in the Carmel Monon Center and at 5:30 p.m. June 30 in the Fishers Town Hall.

CIRTA is also partnering with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization on several public comment meetings June 16-18 and 24. While the Carmel and Fishers forums offer an overview of CIRTA’s work, the public comment meetings have a narrower focus: discussing the preliminary recommendation for a mass transit “starter system” for the Northeast Corridor.

Though rapid transit in the Northeast Corridor is the talk of the town, Bingaman emphasizes that CIRTA’s mission is broader than just building new transportation systems. “Our mission is to build a network of all the transportation components that serve the entire region,” he says, citing essential upgrades to IndyGo, rural transit, carpooling and high volume lanes as part of the overall package.

More info: www.cirta.us.

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