Musicians, Athletes, and Activists are Gathering for a 10-Day Festival for Mental Health
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and celebrities, artists, athletes, and activists are coming together in L.A. for a major event in support of the cause.
Launching with a rally on May 19, the 10-day We Rise event has some pretty A-list collaborators involved, and they’ll be working with activists and health and wellness providers on a series of panel conversations, frank discussions, film screenings, and opportunities to participate in activities and art. From the ground up, We Rise has been constructed to be an inclusive and safe place. Backed by the County of Los Angeles and state mental health authorities, it’s intended to create a more positive conversation around mental health.
“This May, in honor of this important national month of awareness around mental health, we are demanding more from our government and from each other,” said Yosi Sergant, one of the event organizers and owner of the social justice-oriented marketing firm TaskForce. “At We Rise, we will be coming together as a community of artists, activists, and community members to create a healthier and more just society.”
The base of operations for We Rise is an art space in Chinatown, which will be outfitted with original work by over 100 different artists, including Chelsea Wong, Guillermo Bert, and Shepard Fairey.
Inside, there will be daily talks and events that tackle various issues under the mental health umbrella. Expert-guided sessions cover everything from acknowledging and de-stigmatizing mental health concerns, the community impacts of mass incarceration, displacement, and suicide, and even combating online trolls and bullies.
Sunday’s Mind, Body, and Sports Field Day on the outside stage brings out most of the participating athletes, like Kobe Bryant, Jay Ajayi, gymnast Shawn Johnson, and even recent Olympic-medal-winning bobsledder Aja Evans, for a day of family-friendly games and play, and there are free yoga classes for adults and children.
Young people are a special focus throughout We Rise, but particularly at the Teen Town Hall, which provides a space to openly discuss well being and identity. And in “Survival Guide to Adulting,” a workshop that even some of us post-teens might do well to attend, speakers will offer strategies for coping with stress, responsibility, relationships, and social media-induced FOMO.
Creativity and fun are forms of mental health self-care too, so they’ve built in sessions for guided art-making, dance parties, poetry readings, and musical performances, which are open to all. Performers at the opening rally include Ty Dolla $ign, YG, Vic Mensa, and Common, and the Jabbawockeez dance troupe will lead a class on May 27.
WE RISE runs May 19 to 28, with a full schedule of events available online. All events are located at 1726 N. Spring Street and are free to attend.