One week ago today, an incredibly divisive election finally came to an end.

How do we move forward?

Last week, I spoke with a few of San Diego’s cultural leaders to get a feel for how we can begin to bridge the post-election gap.

Brian Hu, artistic director at Pacific Arts Movement – presenters of the annual San Diego Asian Film Festival, which went on last week, said the results called upon him and his colleagues to remember Pac Arts’ mission: to inspire, educate and entertain the San Diego community in the name of Asian and Asian American cinema. Pac Arts believes stories about diversity and justice can shock audiences into a shared sense of identification and empathy.

“I’ve always been committed to this idea that if you can laugh and cry to films that are in a language you can’t even understand, then we’re eroding our fears about difference,” Hu said.

Last Wednesday, the film fest hosted a Q-and-A session where Hu witnessed this come life. “Usually, those [Q-and-As] are about the filmmaking process and what it’s like to be a filmmaker. But we saw how quickly that forum lent itself to something akin to healing,” he said. “We could feel everyone dancing around their grief, but that dance became a kind of communion.”

Hu said the experience was reaffirming not only for Pac Arts but for the greater San Diego community. “It reminded all of us that whatever happened with the election, that issues of racial representation, xenophobia and immigration were going to be on all of our minds anyway, and that we as cultural workers, audiences and Pac Arts members still have a reason to keep doing what we do,” he said.

Fabienne Perlov, executive director of the San Diego Diplomacy Council, said keeping an international perspective is key for Americans moving forward.

The council works to connect the world for greater peace and stability by promoting the benefits of professional, cultural and educational exchanges between Americans and citizens from over 130 different nations. Funded by the State Department, the council has persevered for over 40 years.

“Administrations of both political parties have recognized the value of what we do,” Perlov said. “The fact is, over the last decade, there has emerged a deep-seated level of anxiety around the world. The phenomenon is quite global, and no nation is immune: Technology and globalization threaten people’s sense of place, livelihood and belonging. For us at the council, it presents the need for an even greater role to move forward to come together to share the hopes and fear about the realities of the 21st century.”

At SDSU’s School of Social Work, concerned students have flooded the office of program, director Melinda Hohman, who is also a professor in the program.

“We have to ask ourselves if healing is even possible for some,” Hohman said. “Many who have taken this election personally due to attacks on race, gender, sexual orientation and/or religion justifiably feel uncertain and unsafe. In some cases, family relationships have even been ruptured due to political differences.”

Self-care must be the first step in healing, Hohman said.

“If anyone is feeling depressed, suicidal, unsafe or suffering from divided family relationships, they should seek counseling immediately,” she said. “Nonprofit social programs like The Center, UPAC and Say San Diego can help with this. Gaining social support based on culture or religion, through organizations like the United Women’s East Africa Support Team, is also critical in a time like this.”

Hohman agreed with Perlov’s sentiment that keeping an international perspective is key to moving onward and upward.

“Volunteering with causes you believe in, donating to organizations that protect all of our basic civil liberties and especially exposing yourself to other cultures through museums or attending a different house of worship help immensely in feeling connected to others and learning to enjoy a sense of shared space, rather than fear it,” she said.

You’re reading the Culture Report, Voice of San Diego’s weekly collection of the region’s cultural news. Sign up here to get the weekly report delivered to your inbox. 

San Diego Gets National History Coverage, Food and Wine Around the Bay and More Arts and Culture News

• As part of its Cities Tour, C-SPAN visited San Diego last week to cover our history and nonfiction literary life. The local segments, which include a closer look at the work of local literature scholars such as UCSD’s Dennis Childs and SDSU’s Anthony Nericcio, will air on BookTV and American History TV throughout C-SPAN’s special San Diego weekend, Jan. 7-8, 2017.

• A new “California Group” art exhibition at La Jolla’s R.B. Stevenson Gallery opens this Saturday. And catch Los Angeles-based artist Andrea Bowers, a longtime feminist and social activist, lecture at MCASD La Jolla.

• The final exhibition of John Lennon’s rare artwork and lyrics will be on display at Flower Hill Promenade in Del Mar (San Diego Reader)

• Artist Sandow Birk discusses contemporary global concerns as he guides us through his “Depravities & Monuments” exhibition at SDSU Downtown Gallery.

• Crimson Ice, an evolving evening of live art, weaves together dance, painting, fashion and sound at Abridged Gallery in Barrio Logan.

• Filmmaker Wolfgang Hastert screens “Two Films on Photography” with experimental voice performance at the Museum of Photographic Arts.

 “Everything She Touches” is the San Diego Women’s Chorus’ 29th annual fall concert.

• Novelist Michael Connelly, who’s also the executive producer of Amazon’s crime drama “Bosch,will sign and discuss his newest Bosch novel at Warwick’s. (San Diego Reader)

• Gaslamp Museum at the Davies-Horton House opens a new exhibit, “In the News: The News in San Diego,” with a lecture by Miramar College history professor Johnny Gonzales on free speech. (San Diego Reader)

 Director Jack O’Brien re-tunes “The Sound of Music,” opening at the San Diego Civic Theatre. (U-T)

• The first retrospective in two decades of renowned architect Louis Kahn’s work is now happening at San Diego Museum of Art.

• A $50 buy-in will get you a seat in the “hairy-but-not-scary” Movember charity poker tournament at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in Liberty Station.

• Blow off some stress at the 37th annual San Diego Jazz Festival.

• Fleet Science Center showcases the stunning world’s largest display of Lego art, made from over 1 million Lego bricks.

• The haunting documentary “Do Not Resist” takes a look into the rapid militarization of police in America.

Food, Beer and Booze News

• Get your eat and drink on at the 13th annual Wine + Food Festival, with over 40 citywide tasting experiences.

• Ballast Point pints and a four-course meal await you at San Diego Safari Park’s Winter Brewmaster Dinner.

• The sixth annual Movember Bash at Fat Fish in PB donates all proceeds to prostate cancer. (San Diego Reader)

• If you’re a foodie with some money to burn, Dinner with the Culinary Icons might be up your alley. (San Diego Reader)

• Love pizza? How about craft cocktails, beer and live music? One word: Pizzapalooza. (San Diego Reader)

• Berry GoodFood Foundation wraps up its multidisciplinary panel with tastings and a lecture on sustainable seafood. (City Beat)

• Quell your post-election (and your pre-holiday) stress with this month’s Drinkabout.

Sarah Beauchemin writes for Voice of San Diego’s Partner Voices and is a freelance writer and content strategist for nonprofits, small businesses and...

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