Remember Charleston Root Out Racism

 

Five years ago a young man walked into historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina and joined a small group of parishioners for Bible Study. Everyone bowed their heads to pray and closed their eyes. He pulled out an automatic weapon and opened fire, killing nine people. He intended to start a race war. Sitting in prison, now on death row, he does not regret his actions. A race war did not ensue. His ignorance and cowardice, fueled by an online community of racist, violent, white supremacists, reveal where true evil in our society resides. Most notably, it is a close cousin to the police violence we see leveled at black bodies with alarming regularity. The Emanuel AME community is still reeling from this shooting and for many, the loss feels as acute as it did July 17, 2015. They don’t close their eyes during prayer at Emanuel AME anymore and family members struggle to forgive. We mustn’t forget their loss or ever lose sight of their pain. We must remember if we’re ever going to root out this evil. Today I speak with Documentary Filmmaker Moriah Hall whose film, No Sanctuary journeys through the aftermath of the shooting and explores why we forget and why empathy seems so elusive. What can you do about it? Below are links to the actions you can take to send the message to governments, corporations and your community that you remember all of those lost to senseless violence fueled by racism. Sign a Petition: https://www.change.org/t/justice-for-… https://www.justiceforall2030.org/pet… https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/j… https://blacklivesmatter.com/petitions/ https://www.purewow.com/news/petition… http://chng.it/qCznBzVgtL Donate: https://www.joincampaignzero.org/solu… https://civilrights.org https://action.justiceforbreonna.org/… https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ms_… ActBlue is a platform for people to contribute to Democratic campaigns and other causes like Black Lives Matter. It passes along donations to organizations that use its fundraising platform — it doesn’t pocket the money itself. Support black owned shops online: https://www.etsy.com/featured/blackow… https://webuyblack.com More info on that: https://nymag.com/strategist/article/…

#blacklivesmatter #racialjustice #freedom #racism #education

Mirror Game Premier

Cybil, Olivia and Melody play a video game with real-life consequences. “Playing With The Big Boys” is a multi-player game designed to teach women how to “make it in a man’s world.” The “man’s world” is a Silicon Valley gaming company. It rewards toxic masculinity while challenging the women with an onslaught of casual and overt misogyny through Tony, the manager and Rohm, the CEO. Cybil, inspired by disgraced Theranos CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, is determined to win at any cost. She constructs an elaborate lie to win the game, but finds it comes at great cost.

Overtly, you could view the women’s journey as a cautionary tale warning women to beware ambition. Yet, beneath the surface lies an allegory that aims to indict the systems that oppress and objectify women and celebrate toxic masculinity.

Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Washington D.C., corporate America–each system fails our culture. The media they produce and the ways they function, strangle innovation and imagination in favor of a brutal and cruel kind of capitalism.

In terms of Mirror Game and the central theme, the phrase, “It’s not personal, it’s capitalism,” is no more than an excuse for bad behavior that negatively impacts both the worker and the consumer, and eventually the one at the top.

As an aside, I encourage everyone, if you haven’t, to check out The 1619 Project. It draws a direct link from slavery to our modern economic systems.

Ultimately, one hopes a piece can speak for itself and that the ideas don’t weigh too heavily on it. Any artistic endeavor, particularly one as collaborative as new opera, must offer the very talented artists it assembles space to articulate their experience. Above all else, this piece must allow the audience member the freedom to discover it and perhaps enjoy it on the way.