Local Activists Convene Friday, July 31 for 'Black Lives, Black Words' Panel by Face Off Theatre, WMU
By Face Off Theatre Company
KALAMAZOO, Mich.— Get ready for stimulating conversation! Reginald Edmund, an international thought leader on systemic racism, and longtime and emerging Kalamazoo activists headline a dynamic virtual “Black Lives, Black Words” panel discussion at 7 p.m. Friday, July 31.
Watch the livestream on the Facebook page of Face Off Theatre Company via Facebook Live.
The panel discussion is hosted by the Black Arts & Cultural Center’s Face Off Theatre Company and Western Michigan University Department of Theatre. Panelists will discuss what’s being done to affect lasting change on the race issue.
The lineup includes:
About 'Black Lives, Black Words'
This is the second event in a three-part “Black Lives, Black Words” series being held online by Face Off Theatre and Western. Reginald Edmund, an award-winning playwright based in Chicago, is the founder of the Black Lives, Black Words International Project that provides workshops to train people of color how to create plays and other works for the stage that answer the question: “Do Black lives matter?”
WMU graduate Marissa Harrington helped start Face Off Theatre. Harrington, who serves as artistic director, believes having an outlet for artists of color to express themselves at this critical moment of heightened racial tensions is essential.
"The movement here has been so inspiring. I don't see people letting up, and that's a good thing," Harrington said in a recent interview with her alma mater. "I hope that people are inspired by what they see and what they hear and are encouraged to keep going."
Face Off Theatre Company has twice partnered with the WMU Department of Theatre to bring the Black Lives, Black Words project to Kalamazoo, first in 2018 and then in 2019. This summer's series is the first time they’ve done it virtually.
Joan Herrington, who heads the WMU theater department, told WMU News Services that it is important for the project to return in the wake of calls for racial justice nationwide. WMU is the second university in the U.S. to host Reginald Edmund’s BLBW initiative.
"I think there is more energy, more urgency for this work, and not just for this work, but really for us to look at institutional racism as it expresses itself in the arts,” Herrington said.
NEXT UP: The series' third and final event is a curated talent showcase at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1, also on Face Off Theatre Company’s Facebook page.