Why "For Those Who Can't" is important to us!
On Sunday, March 20th at 9pm, for the third time since October, Allison Reese and I present, For Those Who Can’t: A performance showcase to shed light on racial injustice through empowering speech. In honor or Women’s History Month, we will solely feature Women of color. Our performers will be exhibiting their skills in a variety of art forms such as spoken word, music, improvisation and storytelling. The showcase will be a mix of dramatic and comedic performances that will inspire you to think and move you emotionally.
We titled this showcase, For Those Who Can’t, because we want to use our voices to share our perspectives on racism, inequality and police brutality in a variety of ways that highlight our differences that make us special as well as the common bonds we share. We do this for the people that can no longer speak for themselves because their lives were brutally ripped away by those that are supposed to protect us.
According to the site Mapping Police Violence:
“Police killed at least 336 black people in the U.S. in 2015“
When I was reviewing the information on this site, I found myself becoming emotionally overwhelmed because the statistics were so jarring. Seeing a breakdown of the sheer numbers of deaths nationwide gave me a whole new perspective on just how horrifying it is that this these brutal murders are happening so frequently and very little has been done to address it. I still have a lot to learn about racial injustice and what I can do to help lessen it within my community but I’m so grateful that I have opportunities like this so that I can surround myself with people that teach by example. These performers are so creative, intelligent and socially conscious that I am so blown away by them.
I was curious to know why a showcase of this nature was important to them and they expressed their sentiments beautifully.
“I think that a showcase for Black voices is so important to our community and our city. It is just as important to be heard as it is to listen. In a climate where we are systematically shut down and out, gathering together to celebrate our art, our voices, and ourselves is a moving experience. It’s empowering, it’s smart, it’s funny, it’s honest, I view this showcase itself as the Black experience and I feel so lucky to be a part of it.” – Co-producer, Allison Reese
“Laughing with (and sometimes at) others has pulled me out of some dark places over the years. I want to contribute to the #BlackLivesMatter movement by moving people to thought, through laughter.” – Michelle Thompson-Hay
“I revel in the fellowship of hearing experiences and points of view from different people. It is empowering. It reflects a sameness in our variety and reminds us that not only are we not alone, we can also be present to ensure that others know that they are not alone. These showcases are often quite eye-opening and can be transformative.” – Elana Elyce
“A showcase of this nature is important to me because it is produced by two Women of color, is run out of a theater co-founded by a Woman, focuses on race and gender (which I love to talk about) and it brings together different disciplines of performance.” – Sameena Mustafa
“…It encourages people of color to share our stories with people who can relate on an experiential level. We share different, deeper things when we’re in the company of those who we know can see us. Truly see us. This show is dope and exactly what my ass needs.” – Lauren Walker
“Spaces celebrating women of color sans fetishization are few and far between and I am ALWAYS excited to support my sisters. As a WoC who is usually afforded white privilege because I look white, I sometimes find that spaces for WoC don’t wish to include me (which I understand) and so I feel especially grateful to have been invited to participate here. I am so proud of who I am and I love the opportunity for my ethnicity to be VISIBLE.” – Spencer Tootle
“I believe there is soul power in the presence of two or more people gathered together to express care for themselves and their communities.” – Leslie Reese
“This showcase is unique and important because it puts the Black experience onstage. It is crucial to give artists of color a place to tell our own stories, growing up in these turbulent and unpredictable times. This showcase is such a great opportunity for us to express ourselves in a room full of people that want to hear it, which shows that we matter, our actions matter and our art matters.” – Ashley Clopton
Proceeds from this performance will go to Ms. Franklin’s music students’ project, Stand Up and Be Heard! at Brennemann Elementary School. They need help getting musical instruments and audio equipment for their performances so if you are unable to attend the showcase, you can still donate to a great cause.