WHO WE ARE
While researching contemporary lynchings for a novel, I convened a "clearness committee" in Seattle composed equally of Black and non-Black participants. I posed the following question to the group: Is racial healing in America possible?
The novel-writing process led me to artists of all complexions, such as Jill Littlewood, who had grappled with racial terrorism in their art - sculpture, music, installations, spoken word, film, painting, drawing, poetry, prose, textile arts, photography, multimedia. I thought it could be healing to collect this art into one project for those inclined toward racial justice to reflect on.
We hope that, in addition to this online presentation, a physical expression of this multidisciplinary project -- along with formal and informal conversations about anti-Black racial terrorism and what to do about it -- will visit a city near you.
Every day I wake up thinking about what is going on - like this morning, about the 5,000 prisoners in a prison in Angola, Louisiana, who pick cotton for 2 cents a day. On the site of a former plantation. How is this not slavery? How will we change what is going on? I would be in total despair except for the feeling that through “Requiem” I have a chance to change what is happening.
Since 2012, Charlotte and I have been exploring friendship, and how to work together, across the racial divide that is so charged in our country. “Requiem for 10,000 Souls” continues our journey into an uncertain future. Whatever happens to it, and us, is part of a much larger tapestry of racial stories in the U.S. I am so grateful to Charlotte for inviting me to join her on this journey.