Sisterfire @ Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2018

Support Roadwork's 40th anniversary with a multiracial and multigenerational celebration of women artists on July 8th at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival '18!

A fundraising campaign for Roadwork Inc

Today’s Resisterhood can trace its roots to an activist movement that fought for gender justice, and against racism and misogyny in the shadow of rightwing social movements. 

We seek support to produce an event that documents this vital legacy: Roadwork@40: A Sisterfire Reunion Concert at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on July 8, 2018. 

The reunion concert and the larger Roadwork Oral History and Documentary Project, are part of a grassroots effort to document and bring forward the story of a vital women of color-led movement, that put women artists on the road, and produced cultural events to build community, resistance and empowerment. 

Roadwork was founded in 1978 as a D.C.-based grassroots community organization that produced tours for over thirty women artist groups globally, a local DC concert series, and Sisterfire, a multiracial urban women’s cultural festival. From 1982 to 1989, Sisterfire  featured women’s music, dance, spoken-word, and theater.  The Sisterfire Reunion Concert is central to a multi-year, multi-media oral history project to document Roadwork’s legacy, foregrounding women activists, artists, and organizers, and to tell our herstory for future generations. For more information about the Roadwork Oral History and Documentary Project, please go to

 Your support will enable us to produce this historic Sisterfire Reunion Concert on July 8, featuring six diverse musicians, poets and dancers from the 70s to today. The concert will be the featured Ralph Rinzler Memorial Concert (honoring the festival’s founder) at the Smithsonian Folklife festival in 2018. Rinzler was an early supporter of Roadwork’s mission.

This free, two-day 40th anniversary celebration has several other components:

1. Narrative Stages: Participants in the narrative stage sessions will address Roadwork’s contribution to women’s culture, activism, and anti-racist social justice movements.

2. Smithsonian Associates Lecture Series: Film, panels, demonstrations, and lectures will offer in-depth exploration of the impact of women’s culture from the 1970s until today.

3. Oral History Booths: Story Core booths will allow participants to document their memories and ideas for the future.

    We ask for your support to realize this concert, Roadwork@40: A Sisterfire Reunion Concert, at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival! Please consider by making a tax-deductible donation. 

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About the Organization

The decades of the 1970s and 1980s are often dismissed, even though they were years transformed by the exuberance of women’s movements; the floodgates of cultural expression opened by lesbian/gay movements; the urgent responses to violations of human rights, international social justice and nuclear madness; the continuities of African American civil rights movements and labor movements of earlier decades.
Drawing inspiration from the foundation built during the civil rights and labor movements Roadwork Inc. emerged in 1978 as a national and international multi-racial, cross-cultural women’s arts organization. Over the next fifteen years, Roadwork was at the forefront of coalition efforts based on artistic collaboration among diverse communities.
Roadwork has initiated a digital archive project. The purpose of this archive is to gather together personal recollections and artifacts from artists, organizers, and audiences who participated in the Roadwork experience during the 1970s and 1980s. We are committed to open access to the archive so that connections across boundary lines...

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