Monday Welcoming Session – 9:30am to 10am AND Session 1 – 10am to 11:30am

This will be the opening session of the Fall 2021 Take a Stand/Sit In.

Come  join us for a general introduction to the event and opening comments and then stick around for:

Creating Culture: Chopped and Looped (Production, & Rap Workshop)

hosted by James Gardin


Creating culture doesn’t usually consist of creating something that never existed. There’s always some sort of inspiration or source material that acts as the building blocks. All of the Above Hiphop Academy follows a motto of “ Old School Appreciation with New School application. We believe that whether you’re creating community, a beat, or a song,  the things you need to create it are usually there.

From this Session you will

  • Learn a brief history of sampling
  • Have an opportunity to create something new from something old
  • Learn more about AOTA
  • Have an opportunity to share

We believe there is beautiful art and a movement waiting to happen inside of you. All you have to do is look back at what’s been poured into you add what you’ve learned and figure out what you want to chop , sample, and loop to make a brand new jam.

Biography of the Presenter:

James Gardin has used his empowering rhymes, fun melodies, energetic stage presence, and deft fashion sense to have  successful 15 year + career. His sound has been inspired by Kirk Franklin, Kanye West, Bill Withers, and has a sound akin to Kanye West, Chance The Rapper, Anderson Paak, and Childish Gambino. He has performed hundreds of shows around the world, amassed  millions of plays and downloads with coverage on top web sites, publications, and radio (HipHopDX, Earmilk, DJ Booth, Paste, The Word Is Bond, Rapzilla, Lansing State Journal, Grungecake, Respect Mag, Sphere of Hip-Hop, USA Today and many more.).

He has also had sync licensing placements with  Tommy Hilfiger , Apple, T- Mobile, Square, Spotify, ESPN, , GaryVee TV, and Black&SexyTV. He has also shared the booth and the stage with artists such as Grieves, Macklemore, Dessa, Murs, Jack Harlow, Talib Kweli, Astronautalis, KING, and many more. James uses his art and message to inspire all those around him to live their life fully, and encounter their purpose daily.


and recordings:

Monday Session 2 – 12:00pm to 1:30pm

The Moment You Become A Refugee

with Joshua Alan Ehm, Elizabeth Clifford


What is it like to face persecution from your own government and to start your life over in a new country? Joshua Ehm, of LCC, will share his story of being a refugee, a story soon to be published by Simon and Schuster (Becoming Joshua co-authored by Tammy Vaugn).  Also, Joshua and Elizabeth Clifford will discuss how we can build bridges to people in need around us be they refugees, the homeless or other groups uprooted from everyday life.  How can you help others on a refugee journey?

Biography of the presenter:

Joshua Ehm came to the USA in July 2014 as a refugee. In 2015, he enrolled at LCC to learn English but soon he realized LCC had much more to offer than just learning English. In 2019 he graduated from LCC and transferred to MSU. He has been a part time employee in Learning Commons since 2018, working primarily with second language students.

Monday Session 3 – 2:00pm to 4:30pm

Film: The Sentence and Conversation with Director Rudy Valdez

with Rudy Valdez



Drawing from hundreds of hours of footage, filmmaker Rudy Valdez shows the aftermath of his sister Cindy’s 15-year sentence for conspiracy charges related to crimes committed by her deceased ex-boyfriend—something known, in legal terms, as “the girlfriend problem.” Valdez’s method of coping with this tragedy is to film his sister’s family for her, both the everyday details and the milestones—moments Cindy herself can no longer share in. But in the midst of this nightmare, Valdez finds his voice as both a filmmaker and activist, and he and his family begin to fight for Cindy’s release during the last months of the Obama administration’s clemency initiative. Whether their attempts will allow Cindy to break free of her draconian sentence becomes the aching question at the core of this deeply personal portrait of a family in crisis.” (



Note for the LCC community (faculty, staff and students): you can view The Sentence through the LCC Library’s film database Kanopy.


Biography of the Director: LCC welcomes award-winning filmmaker Rudy Valdez, an alum of LCC’s Theatre program. Rudy Valdez is an Emmy Award-winning Michigan-raised, New York City-based filmmaker committed to creating social, cultural, and political stories through a cinematic and meaningful lens. He got his start in film as a Camera Operator on the Peabody Award-winning, Sundance series Brick City and went onto direct a true passion project, The Sentence (HBO)Shot and directed by Valdez over the course of a decade, this feature documentary tells the very personal story of his sister’s plight in the criminal justice system while tackling subjects like mandatory minimums and sentencing reform. For this work, the filmmaker won the 2019 Primetime Emmy Award for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking, US Documentary Audience Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and was a 2018 Critics Choice Documentary Awards Best New Director nominee.

Prior to The Sentence, Valdez has worked as a Cinematographer on a multitude of projects including: The Last Patrol (HBO), directed by Academy Award-nominated Director Sebastian Junger; Whoopi Goldberg presents Moms Mabley: I Got Something To Tell You (HBO) produced and directed by Whoopi Goldberg, premiering at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival; Remembering the Artist, Robert De Niro, Sr., (HBO)premiering at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival; The Conversation Series, a New York Times OpDoc; the series Second Coming?: Will Black America Decide the 2012 Election? (BET); Prison Dogs, directed by Primetime Emmy Award-winning Director Geeta Gandbhir and Perri Peltz, premiering at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival; Buried Above Ground, directed by Ben Selkow, premiering at the Woodstock Film Festival; as well as, The Talk (PBS)directed by Academy Award-nominated Director Sam Pollard.

Valdez’s most recent project, Breakaway, a feature film following WNBA superstar, Maya Moore and her fight for criminal justice reform, premiered on ESPN in July 2021 (produced by Rockin’ Robin Productions); and its complementary short, Make Him Known, premiered at the 2021 Miami Film Festival and will make appearances at the Sarasota Film Festival, The Brooklyn Film Festival, Minneapolis Film Festival, and Nantucket Film Festival. His four-part docu-series, We Are: The Brooklyn Saints (produced by Imagine Documentaries), is currently streaming on Netflix. He also co- directed the premiere episode of Through Our Eyes (HBO) alongside Academy Award-winning director, Geeta Gandbhir, a four-part docu-series from Sesame Workshop that explores the lives of American families from the perspective of children; how they navigate their circumstances with their families and the world at large. He is also in production on the definitive feature documentary of Carlos Santana (produced by Imagine Documentaries) and Disney +’s CHOIR, a docu-series following the Detroit Youth Choir after their star turn on America’s Got Talent (also produced by Imagine Documentaries). Valdez’s repertoire now extends into the scripted arena as he recently sold a genre TV series he created to Amazon that is loosely based on his family and life experiences.