On Friday December 2nd, the culmination of a semester long collaboration between Memphis United and Theatre Memphis made its public debut to a packed house at Rhode College’s McCoy Theatre. Since September, Organizers with Mid-South Peace & Justice Center’s Juvenile Justice Project through Memphis United have been working with teaching fellows from Rhodes College and Central High School students to create performance pieces that wrestle with issues of social justice under the guidance of the Theatre Memphis Department of Outreach and Education. Mid-South Peace and Justice Center’s main role has been providing resources and local context for the students’ research throughout the process.
The performance also showcased collaborations from SPEAK, a group of poets, dancers, writers, and rappers based out of Melrose High School including a Know Your Rights Rap Single inspired by Memphis United’s interactive Know Your Rights Theatre workshops. In their own words, SPEAK is “a group of people who create positive work to impact the world.”
The day began early for Central High School students who also attended a breakfast and community conversation at Caritas Village where they engaged in dialogue with local organizers and change makers from the Memphis Bus Riders Union, United Campus Workers, Fight For 15, Planned Parenthood, and Mid-South Peace & Justice Center.
The debut performance was such a huge success, a second showcase is already in the works for next semester. At Mid-South Peace & Justice Center, we believe that no amount of education or empathy can equal the experiences of those most affected by an issue. They are the experts. They have the solutions. To address issues of youth violence and crime in our city, we must engage with those most affected by the issue…young people. Youth are the SOLUTION, not the problem!
Special Thanks to additional performers, Margaret Butta MD Deloach, Nick Black, Brittney Threatt, and Rufus Smith ; Leslie Barker & Lena Wallace Black of Theatre Memphis; Kyamran ‘K-Mo’ Mohammad (who made the beat for the Know Your Rights Rap); photographer; Andrea Morales; Rhodes College Teaching fellows, Karissa Coady, Miranda Colegrove, Emily Murphy, Brynna Newkirk, and Deya Pajarillo; and of course…all of the talented young people from Melrose, and Central High School!
These are the kinds of community building projects you support when you give to the Mid-South Peace & Justice Center. Invest in our young people, and invest in the future by making a end-of-the year contribution today at midsouthpeace.org/donate