5 Easy Health Tests You Can Do Yourself

The 20th annual National Women’s Health Week kicks off on May 12, 2019 and is celebrated through May 18. This week serves as a reminder to make your health a priority, and to build positive habits for life. Focusing on health doesn’t have to be time consuming – here are five easy self-assessments provided by Every Day Health and Women’s Health Magazine that you can do at home, some of which take less than a minute.

1.) The Skin Test – performed once a month

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S., but is also the easiest to see. Regular skin self-exams may catch early signs of cancer at stages that are treatable and even curable. Inspect every inch of your body, from your scalp to the soles of your feet, using a full-length or hand-held mirror. Even if an area isn’t often exposed to the sun, it should still be included in your inspection. Look for the appearance of or changes in moles, and get anything suspicious checked out by a dermatologist as soon as possible.

2.) The Waist Test – performed every three to four months

Your waist circumference is a large indicator of future risk for many health conditions, as fat around your belly has been linked to heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Even if you are at a healthy body mass index and weight, waist size is considered to be the best indicator of potential health risk. In general, women are healthiest when their waist is less than 35 inches. To measure your waist, encircle a soft tape measure around your body at the level of your belly button, making sure the tape is snug, but not tight. Remeasure your waist circumference every three to four months and assess any changes.

3.) The Breast Test – performed once a month

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists stresses the importance of “breast self-awareness” among women over age 20. Ideally, you should be familiar with your breasts’ normal appearance and feel so you can notice any changes. Simply assessing the area when taking off your bra or washing in the shower is a great way to look for any changes in your breasts, such as dimpling, puckering, redness, swelling, rash or pain. Performing this self-check in addition to staying up-to-date with necessary doctor’s exams is a great way to detect any complications before they become serious.

4.) The Pulse Test – performed once a month

Your heart rate can provide important insight into overall heart health. Place your index and third finger on the side of your neck or wrist and count the number of beats in 15 seconds. Multiply that number by four to find your heart rate. To get an accurate reading, perform the test when you first wake up or after a period of time in which you haven’t been exercising to ensure you are measuring your true resting heart rate. A normal reading falls between 60 and 100 beats per minute, and anything in the 110s or 120s could be cause for a trip to the doctor. However, don’t jump to conclusions based on one reading – instead look for a pattern over time by testing once a month.

5.) The Height Test – performed once a year

Measuring your height is an easy way to keep tabs on how healthy your bones are – a loss of height may be an early sign of osteoporosis. If you notice any significant drops in height, you may want to talk to your doctor. In the meantime, make sure you’re getting enough calcium through dairy products and green, leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli. Weight-bearing exercises like walking, running, jogging and lifting weights can also help strengthen your bones.

5 Things to do in Indy for Earth Day 2019

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1.) 30th Annual Earth Day Indiana Festival hosted by Earth Day Indiana
Celebrate Earth Day on Saturday, April 20 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at one of the largest and most successful Earth Day festivals in the U.S. At the 30th Annual Earth Day Indiana Festival, you can explore over 125 exhibitor tables, listen to live music, grab lunch from local food trucks or vendors, visit the Children’s tent, and much more, all right downtown at the historic Military Park! Learn more about the festival, and find a list of exhibitors by visiting Earth Day Indiana’s website.

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2.) Spring Refresh: Earth Day hosted by Newfields
Get out of the house and enjoy everything nature has to offer with Newfields! The Earth Day Spring Refresh event on Saturday, April 27 is about appreciating our planet with all things green and earthy – from flowers to plants to fabrics and paints. Join other participants from 5 – 8 p.m. in experimenting with sustainable materials, and pick up a few tricks on how to shrink your carbon footprint! This event is free with admission to the Newfields Gardens and includes snacks and music.

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3.) Earth Day Recycle Run hosted by Earth Day Indiana
Are you looking to help the environment and get a good workout in this Earth Day? Then both the Earth Day Recycle Run and the Earth Day Virtual 5K or 10K are for you! The Recycle Run is part of the Earth Day Indiana Festival on Saturday, April 20, and offers a 5K run/walk, or a one-mile walk starting and ending at Military Park at White River State Park. All races start at noon, with courses that take you along the scenic White River. This run is focused on generating as little waste as possible, and participants are strongly encouraged to bring their own reusable water bottles. Register to run or walk here!

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4.) Indianapolis Sustainability Summit hosted by Sustain Indy and IUPUI Sustainability
On Wednesday, April 17, the second annual Sustainability Summit will bring together hundreds of leaders within Indianapolis’s business, nonprofit and civic communities to develop a roadmap for meeting our city’s sustainability goals. The 2019 event is designed to start discussions on how Indianapolis residents can contribute on individual levels to help the city meet its climate goals. Experts within the sustainability field will speak, 16 workshops will be set up to engage all participants, and sustainability scholarships and awards will be given throughout the day. Register and learn more about this groundbreaking event hosted at the IUPUI Campus Center here.

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5.) April Great Indy Cleanup hosted by Keep Indianapolis Beautiful

Join Keep Indianapolis Beautiful on Saturday, April 27 from 9 a.m. to noon for the annual April Great Indy Cleanup, focusing this year on the Christian Park neighborhood. This year, volunteers can take their pick of three projects: to “keep it clean” by participating in street and alleyway cleanup, to “keep it beautiful” by installing new mulch around the park’s playground, community buildings, entrances and mural, or to “keep it green” by helping with a large-scale native plant installation of 87 new trees to line the park’s waterway. Breakfast and free T-shirts will be provided. Sign up here.

In 1970, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson organized the first Earth Day to bring attention to conservation issues. Since then, the holiday has grown into an international movement to help conserve, sustain and rebuild local, national and global environments. Today, Indianapolis is a leading city in this movement, and there are many ways you can participate in this year’s 49th celebration of Earth Day on April 22.

New Year, New Books

Now that the 2019 is upon us, you may need some new books to add to your list. Here, we’ve compiled a few of our favorites.

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Coming Back to Life: The Updated Guide to the Work that Reconnects

Authors: Joanna Macy and Molly Brown

This book is often referred to as a “timeless map for Earth healers” as they offer a guide for connecting with our suffering so we can discover and release our actionable compassion for the world.

Recommended by: Pam Blevins Hinkle, Director at Spirit & Place

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The Hate U Give 

Author: Angie Thomas

This is a young adult book that was recently turned into a movie in late 2018. It explores how a teen girl’s life is changed when she witnessed the fatal shooting of a childhood friend by the police. More about the movie here.

Recommended by: LaShawnda Crowe Storm, Spirit & Place Community Engagement Director

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1947: Where Now Begins

Author: Elisabeth Asbrink

1947 is a memoir not of a person but of a year. Elisabeth Asbrink divides the book into months and recalled the happenings connected to specific people and places. The brilliance of 1947 lies within the comparison of the past and future. We can study the past, but not change it. We’d like to believe we can shape the future, but we cannot control what it will ultimately be. This book is a great read for history lovers.

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Sacred Economics: Money, Gift and Society in the Age of Transition 

Author: Charles Eisenstein

This book traces the history of money revealing how the money system has contributed to alienation, competition and scarcity. It follows these trends through to today as society may find great opportunity in the wake of their collapse. Sacred Economics is offered on a “pay what you want” basis and also as a hardcover.

Recommended by: Pam Blevins Hinkle, Director at Spirit & Place

Reflections on Winter holidays

I was raised Christian—American Baptist specifically—and I love Christmas. The most potent memories are, not surprisingly for me, filled with singing. The Christmas Eve service at the First Baptist Church in Franklin, Indiana, was especially magical. There were carols, choirs, string instruments, organ, candlelight and the story of Jesus’ birth. Together, it made me weep with joy and hope for the world.

I still love Christmas music, and yeah, I probably start listening to it way too early. My favorite CD right now is “More Joyful Sounds” by North Central High School’s Counterpoints. My eyes fill up when I listen to those young people (many of whom I know) sing, and I know that the world is going to be okay because of the light they carry.

For the last 13 years, I’ve celebrated this darkest season of the year with the annual Winter Solstice Celebration, an earth-affirming, non-denominational event presented by Central Indiana Unitarian Universalists. This free, family-friendly evening has the things I love from my childhood celebrations—choir, crowd singing, strings (cello specifically), stories, candlelight—with the addition of tingsha (a small cymbal used in Tibetan Buddhist prayer), West African drums, raucous clapping and aisle dancing (voluntary, of course), stretches of meditative silence (always with babies chirping because this is for EVERYONE), a stunning altar in the center of the room created by local artists, and a large feast to conclude this festive night of sound and spirit.

I always—ALWAYS—come away feeling different … centered, grounded, and whole. This celebration helps me honor the darkness (that’s where seeds grow after all), celebrate the Light, and reclaim the communal joy that is too often missing in our lives.

However you name that Light, where ever you find that Light, and however you mark this season, I wish you joy and peace, and yes, singing!

Pam Blevins Hinkle
Director, Spirit & Place
(and also music coordinator for Winter Solstice Celebration, co-director of SongSquad, and co-founder, Indy Justice Choir)

Family-fun events for all ages in the 2018 Festival

The 2018 Spirit & Place Festival will be held from Nov. 2-11. The festival this year will explore the theme of “intersections.” Intersecting lines can be found anywhere from the cross and cloverleaf, to crossroads and connections. They represent collective creativity and deeper understanding, as well as points of division or conflict.

The festival will kick-off with an “intersections” themed opening night Nov. 2 from 6 to 9 p.m. There will be 32 unique events this year that will take place across 27 venues and feature a variety of presenters, speakers and performers. This year’s festival includes many fun-filled events perfect for bringing families together and inspiring sustained conversation.

Visit the website at www.spiritandplace.org for the full festival lineup, including these family-friendly events below:

EVENT INFO:

Friday, November 2, 6 – 9 p.m.
Opening Night: Intersections!
Presented by Spirit & Place and Harrison Center.
Harrison Center—1505. Delaware St. 

Kick off this year’s Spirit & Place Festival during an INTERSECTION themed night at the Harrison Center. The Harrison Center serves as a home for artists of all races, ages, social groups, neighborhoods, faiths and more to intersect with one another – and you! Bring the family out for a fun night of discovery to meet with artists. Explore how styles, mediums, colors and shapes collide and blend to create Indy’s vibrant arts community.
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Saturday, November 3, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Explore Art-omotive!
Presented by Ivy Tech Community College, Ivy Tech Automotive Garage, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, Social Sketch Indy and Marian University
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum—4790 W. 16th St. 

Explore Art-omotive! will delve into the relationship between art, design and the history of automobiles. Participants will watch a virtual engine build competition, participate in a “car parade,” design their car of the future and explore the history of automotive design in this family friendly event.

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Sunday, November 4, 2—4 p.m.
Crossing: A Neighborhood Walkway
Presented by artist Lauren Ditchley, Meridian Kessler Neighborhood Association, A Taste of Philly Pretzels and College Avenue Branch Library
College Avenue Branch Library—Parking Lot—4180 N. College Ave.       

This event is a way to help a community gather and create a visual representation of a “desire path” between the pretzel shop and the library—a literal intersection between the buildings that is missing! Visioning sessions hosted at the library over the summer inspired the mural design and you get to help make it a reality. This pavement mural will not only help reclaim the street, but will encourage drivers to slow down while approaching the intersection.

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Monday, November 5, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
The Score Awakens
Presented by Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Indy Lightsaber Academy
Hilbert Circle Theatre—45 Monument Circle
Cost: $5 

The Score Awakens showcases the intersection between music and story by exploring the role John William’s score has in creating the iconic Star Wars universe. Indy Lightsaber Academy will demo how the music inspires epic battles, and everyone will get to learn some sci-fi swordplay.  

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Monday, November 5, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Hummus & Happiness
Presented by CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center, Muslim Alliance of Indiana, Jewish Community Relations Council and the Center for Interfaith Cooperation
Indiana Interchurch Center—1100 W. 42nd St.

Hummus & Happiness is an event that encourages our audience to consider how film and food can create spaces for the exploration of complex issues and diverse viewpoints. Guests are invited to a hummus-tasting competition, where you can sample (and then vote on) hummus recipes from around the world, prepared by local hummus-makers, who will share their narrative and the story of their recipe. The winner will be announced after the film screening of “Life and Hummus,” followed by a short panel discussion and audience Q&A.

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Saturday, November 10, 8:30 a.m. —2 p.m.
Spirited Chase
Presented by WFYI and its community partners
WFYI & Mystery Locations—1630 N. Meridian St.
Cost: $9

Spirited Chase is a unique event offering participants the opportunity to renew their spirit through discovering new people and places in our community. Throughout the day, participants will visit five mystery Indianapolis destinations, located at different physical intersections around the city. At each mystery destination, participants will engage in a brief presentation or conversation as they learn about the many ways people, places and programs intersect to create and support our community. 

Community-connection events included in 2018 Festival

The 2018 Spirit & Place Festival will be held from Nov. 2-11. The festival this year will explore the theme of “intersections.” Intersecting lines can be found anywhere from the cross and cloverleaf, to crossroads and connections. They represent collective creativity and deeper understanding, as well as points of division or conflict.

There will be 32 unique events this year that will take place across 27 venues and feature a variety of presenters, speakers and performers. This year’s festival allows attendees to create connections with their Central Indiana community by bringing people together. These events challenge everyone to ask important questions, such as— What critical crossroads are facing small and large communities in Central Indiana? What new and surprising intersections are needed to build vibrant communities? How might the arts, humanities and religion lift up or challenge these connections? These events that provide community-connections will begin with the Opening Night “intersections” themed event on Nov. 2 from 6-9 p.m.

Visit the website at www.spiritandplace.org for the full festival lineup, including these events on community-connection below:

EVENT INFO:

Friday, November 2, 6 – 9 p.m.
Opening Night: Intersections!
Presented by Spirit & Place and Harrison Center
Harrison Center—1505. Delaware St. 

Kick off this year’s Spirit & Place Festival during an INTERSECTION themed night at the Harrison Center. The Harrison Center serves as a home for artists of all races, ages, social groups, neighborhoods, faiths and more to intersect with one another – and you! Bring the family out for a fun night of discovery to meet with artists. Explore how styles, mediums, colors and shapes collide and blend to create Indy’s vibrant arts community.

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Sunday, November 4, 2—4 p.m.
Crossing: A Neighborhood Walkway
Presented by artist Lauren Ditchley, Meridian Kessler Neighborhood Association, A Taste of Philly Pretzels and College Avenue Branch Library
College Avenue Branch Library—Parking Lot—4180 N. College Ave. 

This event is a way to help a community gather and create a visual representation of a “desire path” between the pretzel shop and the library—a literal intersection between the buildings that is missing! Visioning sessions hosted at the library over the summer inspired the mural design and you get to help make it a reality. This pavement mural will not only help reclaim the street, but will encourage drivers to slow down while approaching the intersection.

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Sunday, November 4, 3—5 p.m.
The Intersection of Equity, Land and Power
Presented by Kheprw Institute, IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, Afrofuture Fridays and Mike Mullet
Kheprw Institute/Renaissance Center—3549 Boulevard Pl.

Join in on a community conversation where we will engage the collective wisdom of urban design experts, artists and attendees to envision equitable housing and community development strategies. In the first hour, experts and artists will generate conversations focused on alternative models of housing and equitable community development drawn from a variety of historical and current municipal experiments. In the second hour, we will break into smaller groups to discuss and build on what we have learned in order to envision new paths forward for community development.   

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Monday, November 5, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Hummus & Happiness
Presented by CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center, Muslim Alliance of Indiana, Jewish Community Relations Council,  and the Center for Interfaith Cooperation
Indiana Interchurch Center—1100 W. 42nd St.

Hummus & Happiness is an event that encourages our audience to consider how film and food can create spaces for the exploration of complex issues and diverse viewpoints. Guests are invited to a hummus-tasting competition, where you can sample (and then vote on) hummus recipes from around the world, prepared by local hummus-makers, who will share their narrative and the story of their recipe. The winner will be announced after the film screening of “Life and Hummus,” followed by a short panel discussion and audience Q&A.

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Tuesday, November 6, 7—9 p.m.
Crossroads of America: Living Up to Our State Motto
Presented by Dr. Richard Gunderman, Marian University Peace & Justice Studies Program and Marian University History and Social Science Department
Marian University—Allison Mansion—3200 Cold Spring Rd. 

Scrutinize the many ways in which Indiana represents a crossroad: historically, economically, logistically as well as philosophically, religiously and culturally. Dr. Gunderman will challenge participants to think about what it means to be the “Crossroads of America” and how that designation can confer many benefits on Hoosiers . . . if we’re willing to seize on the right opportunities.

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Wednesday, November 7, 6:30—8:30 p.m.
Bridging the Divide: Finding Common Ground
Presented by IUPUI Senior Academy, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Butler College of Education, St. Vincent Art Therapy Studio, Center for Interfaith Cooperation and North United Methodist Church
North United Methodist Church—3808 N. Meridian St. 

What barriers do you need to break down in your life? What stops you from reaching out to engage in conversations with someone who is different than you? Divisions are fed by lack of opportunities to intersect across lines of race, religion, ethnicity and political affiliations. This event examines barriers to connecting with others and will provide techniques for engaging in meaningful conversations. Small group art projects led by Joani Rothenberg will also provide an opportunity to discuss experiences, frustrations with past interactions and hopes for more civil intersections. 

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Wednesday, November 7, 3—5 p.m.
At the Intersection of Identity & Walkability
Presented by Health by Design, Marion County Health Department, Keystone Millersville Neighborhood Association, AccessABILITY and Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Marion County Public Health Department Community Building—4012 Meadows Drive 

“Walkability” has to do with what makes a community an inviting place to walk. Think: sidewalks, tree-lined streets and benches.Through facilitated dialogue and walking side-by-side with others, participants will explore how identity—being a parent with young kids, a person with a disability, or someone who works 3rd shift—intersects with ideas, preferences and needs around “walkability.”

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Friday, November 9, 6 – 8:30 p.m.
Afrofuturism in Action: A Conversation with Tobias Buckell
Presented by Maurice Broaddus and Kheprw Institute
Kheprw Institute/Renaissance Center—3549 Boulevard Place 

Black Panther. Parliament-Funkadelic. Octavia E. Butler. Janelle Monae. Afrofuturism is the reimagining of a future filled with arts, science and technology seen through a black lens. It’s a literary and creative genre that allows us to discuss matters of race, gender and social justice as well as model possibilities for the future.  Hear from Tobias Buckell, author of Crystal Rain, Arctic Rising, and Halo: The Cole Protocol, and join in a community conversation where we use art, science and faith to imagine a future together.

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Saturday, November 10, 3 – 6 p.m.
Convergence: Connecting our Shared Experience through Performance and Prose
Presented by Stacia Murphy, Kheprw Institute, INAZ Dezign, Oldsoul Entertainment, Bringing Down the Band, IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, and The Church Within
The Church Within—1125 Spruce St.

The Indianapolis artistic community is a diverse group of people from all walks of life and backgrounds. Featuring many local artists, attendees will reflect on the convergence of artistry, culture and tradition through poetic prose, rhythmic dance and visual storytelling. Spoken word, visual art, dance and music will intersect during this event to showcase stories of historically silenced communities and the power of unity. It will also include a hands-on learning portion and time to interact with the performers.

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Saturday, November 10, 8:30am—2 p.m.
Spirited Chase
Presented by WFYI and its community partners
WFYI & Mystery Locations—1630 N. Meridian St.
Cost: $9

Spirited Chase is a unique event offering participants the opportunity to renew their spirit through discovering new people and places in our community. Throughout the day, participants will visit five mystery Indianapolis destinations, located at different physical intersections around the city. At each mystery destination, participants will engage in a brief presentation or conversation as they learn about the many ways people, places and programs intersect to create and support our community. 

Powerful storytelling, films and interactive events part of 2018 Festival

The 2018 Spirit & Place Festival will be held from Nov. 2-11. The festival this year will explore the theme of “intersections.” Intersecting lines can be found anywhere from the cross and cloverleaf, to crossroads and connections. They represent collective creativity and deeper understanding, as well as points of division or conflict.

There will be 32 unique events this year that will take place across 27 venues and feature a variety of presenters, speakers and performers. The festival this year has events with powerful storytelling aspects. These events are interactive and allow attendees to share their story with the community.

Visit the website at www.spiritandplace.org for the full festival lineup, including these discussions below:

EVENT INFO:

Sunday, November 4, 1:30—3 p.m.
Two Truths & a Lie: The Intersection of Fact and Fiction
Presented by Indiana Historical Society; American Indian Center of Indiana, Inc.; and Kennedy King Memorial Center
Indiana History Center—450 W. Ohio St.

It is tempting to think history is nothing but names, dates, and deceased subjects. Not true! In reality, history is a dynamic subject constantly evolving as historians find new sources. But how do we discern what is true when sources sometimes deliberately lie to us? When do we slip from fact to fiction? Through the guise of a lighthearted game, this event will challenge participants to examine the intersection of fact and fiction through rounds of storytelling and source interpretation that the audience gets to vote on.

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Sunday, November 4, 4—5:30 p.m.
A Dance of Wisdom Tales and Tunes
Presented by Storytelling Arts of Indiana, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and St. Luke’s United Methodist Church Spiritual Center
St. Luke’s United Methodist Church—100 W. 86th St.
Cost: $10

A blend of metaphors and “wisdom tales,” like the tale of Naked Truth and Parable, will be discussed while incorporating music. These tales will encourage attendees to reflect on their own personal histories and faith as a way to clarify their thoughts and beliefs.

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Monday, November 5, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Hummus & Happiness
Indiana Interchurch Center—1100 W. 42nd St.
Presented by CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center, Muslim Alliance of Indiana, Jewish Community Relations Council and the Center for Interfaith Cooperation

Hummus & Happiness is an event that encourages our audience to consider how film and food can create spaces for the exploration of complex issues and diverse viewpoints. Guests are invited to a hummus-tasting competition, where you can sample (and then vote on) hummus recipes from around the world, prepared by local hummus-makers, who will share their narrative and the story of their recipe. The winner will be announced after the film screening of “Life and Hummus,” followed by a short panel discussion and audience Q&A.

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Wednesday, November 7, 6—8 p.m. (Purple Line)
Saturday, November 10, 9—11 a.m. (Blue Line)
Sunday, November 11, 1—3 p.m. (Red Line)
Presented by IndyGo, Marian University Writing Center, and IndyReads
Stories of Indianapolis Transit
Various Meet-Up Locations 

This interactive and on-the-move storytelling event features transit riders on the busses they use. Participants will meet at one of three different locations depending on the day. Each workshop focuses on a different rapid transit corridor that will be in operation by 2022. Attendees will then hop on a bus to hear from transit users and others before settling in for a storytelling workshop at the Julia M. Carson Transit Center. At the Transit Center, participants will craft their own community-focused tales. Bus fare is included with registration.

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Thursday, November 8, 6:30—8:30 p.m.
Jewish and . . .
Presented by Jewish Community Relations Council, Storytelling Arts of Indiana, IndyFringe and Indianapolis Public Library
Central Library—Clowes Auditorium—40 E. St. Clair St.

Jewish and . . . features several short talks by members of the Jewish community whose identities intersect with other groups. The sharing of personal narratives is a powerful way of presenting the vast, and often unrecognized, diversity within the Jewish community. Hear about the experiences of these community neighbors, ask questions and help build bridges of understanding.  

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Saturday, November 10, 3 – 6 p.m.
Convergence: Connecting our Shared Experience through Performance and Prose
Presented by Stacia Murphy, Kheprw Institute, INAZ Dezign, Oldsoul Entertainment, Bringing Down the Band, IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, and The Church Within
The Church Within—1125 Spruce St.

The Indianapolis artistic community is a diverse group of people from all walks of life and backgrounds. Featuring many local artists, attendees will reflect on the convergence of artistry, culture and tradition through poetic prose, rhythmic dance and visual storytelling. Spoken word, visual art, dance and music will intersect during this event to showcase stories of historically silenced communities and the power of unity. It will also include a hands-on learning portion and time to interact with the performers.