Last night, we gathered at the Abingdon Theatre Company for a sold out show featuring homeless youth actors from Covenant House, addressing police harassment of communities of color in NYC.
It was a powerful performance with a thoughtful and engaging forum. Thank you to the amazing actors, our fabulous Jokers, Liz and Becca, and to the spect-actors for sharing your ideas, resources, and wisdom!
We had a brilliant crowd, full of experiential knowledge. Check out spect-actor Kenny being persistent about documenting a police interaction in a park as well as Nissy taking the place of the character, Bobby, in a stoop conversation asking for advice from their community about being coerced and bribed by police.
Resources noted by our spect-actors included legal assistance from Urban Justice Center and Legal Aid Society, as well as a new app called Legal Equalizer, which allows you to document police interaction, to know your rights based on your location, and to inform loved ones of where you are. Additionally, we talked about finding ways to integrate back into communities after isolation, cultivating neighborhood resource networks, and how to react when stopped by police, and how this differs for people based on race, gender, sexuality, dress, and demeanor. As one spect-actor put it, "it's not what I think about myself, it's what they think about me." These are realities that communities of color face every day, this is an ongoing conversation we need to have in order to break these cycles of power and violence.
Were you in the audience and didn't get a chance to mention a resource or bit of advice? Take a few minutes to complete our online feedback form. If you didn't get a chance to make a donation, you can still do so now – help support FREE performances. And be sure to save the date for ACTIVATE, Theatre of the Oppressed NYC's annual celebration & fundraiser on October 27th, 2016 at Downtown Art.
See you all next season!
The TONYC Team