Yosi Sergant was raised Jewish in Culver City. The 30-something year old gained recognition working on Obama’s campaign and moved on to become Director of Communications at the National Endowment for the Arts, until he resigned last fall, after backlash from conservatives, with the belief that he could do more outside of the political wrangles in DC.
He just came back to LA three weeks ago. He says all his belongings except for 2 bags, are currently on a truck on their way from DC to LA.
Sergant and public relations friends Apple Via and Jennifer Gross, have put together an exhibit with over 200 artists in Hollywood called “Manifest Equality” to demonstrate against Prop 8, and “to turn up the dial on this creative community,” he said in a conversation over the phone.
Nighttime parties included appearances by the celebrities like Marisa Tomei, Heather Graham, and activist Cleve Jones.
Aaron Axelrod, Bill Aaron, Robert Saslow, Ross Zeitz, Jim Goldberg, and Jillian Kogan are all Jewish artists in the show.
The building, a former Big Lots store, is owned by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and has been used to store the Oscars, which are currently up the block on use for the Oscars ceremony.
Sponsors include Planet Illogica, Jewish owners of Spaceland and Echo Mitch Frank and Julie Hermelin, the Progressive Jewish Alliance, among many others.
Nick Adler who owns Roxy, oversaw the music component of the parties.
“A lot of battle lines have been drawn in religion in this topic,” Yosi says. “I’m proud of leaders like Sharon Brous [of Ikar Temple in Los Angeles] - she’s one of many.” There’s a llack of exposure, and a misunderstanding of what it means to be a person of faith.
When I mentioned to Sergant that having the exhibit seemed to be like preaching to the choir, since LA is known to be a land of liberal artists, Sergant pointed out to me that Prop 8 passed in LA, and he emphasized that there was a difference between believing in something and acting upon it or talking about it - which is what he intends to do with “Manifest Equality.”
During the day the gallery was open to the public for free. The exhibit, at 1341 Vine Street in Hollywod, closes tomorrow night at 6pm.
To find out more, visit www.manifestequality.com.