in Hanford Sentinel Newspaper August 28, 2020
‘Black Lives Matter’ protests and solidarity commitments worldwide have unleashed a myriad of literary works and art. As the streets fill with calls for justice, artists are expressing their own outcry using their artistic instruments. They must, for if they did not, humanity learns little from historical events.
Last year Adrian Hughes placed second at HMTC’s Hanford Monologue Slam with a monologue of black experience. I thought of him when the movement began because the content of his monologue is the stream of today’s protests. I also thought about my father-in-law who worked with Jessie Jackson in Operation Push in the 1960’s. If he were alive today, he would write an essay comparing Operation Push and the civil rights movement of back then, to today’s movement for racial justice.
A societal crisis becomes fodder for artists. Artists will decipher, analyze, compare, and contrast, and use their art to voice their point of view. As well, art has longevity. Especially art that describes the human condition. As the crowds fade away, the art will stay. History books will include the current events factually and analytically. Artists will use their art to elicit emotions. Emotions from the heart and soul is often the core of art.
Kudos to those artistic institutions who have put in their programing Black projects as a response to societal pleas for action. I applaud Portland Center Stage’s The Community Voices Project as a new initiative to highlight Black artists at their website. [SG1] They plan on exhibiting more artists routinely.
When art institutions open for business, they will undoubtedly include the artistic voices that have sprung from the movement. Galleries will exhibit art and photographs of the protests. Poems and songs will speak with the people. My fellow playwrights will pull from their computer files scripts that now will have an audience or write a new play in reaction to the world’s collective plea. A plea demanding equality and respect for all people. HMTC’s mission is Theater for all people. The world call is Equal justice for all people.
August 20, 2020
Silvia Gonzalez Scherer