Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company Will Offer From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin: A Town Hall Meeting on Black Bodies and American Racism

By Carey Purcell
August 14, 2013

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company will offer From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin: A Town Hall Meeting on Black Bodies and American Racism Aug. 23.

The event, which will feature discussion topics that include the recent Zimmerman verdict in the State of Florida and racial profiling and race relations in Washington, DC, will be held on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s March on Washington, from 7-10 PM.

The event "aims to foster a dialogue among activists, academics, artists, policy makers, and interested community members to identify potential next steps and an action plan for change." 

Key stakeholders and organization leaders including Carolyn Boyd, Minister of Organizational Development at Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ; Louisa Davis, activist and Adjunct Professor of Religion and Ethics at Montgomery College; Jessica Frances Dukes, Woolly Company Member; Dr. Dennis B. Rogers, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Bowie State University; and Dawn Ursula, Woolly Company Member (and cast member in Woolly's production of We Are Proud to Present…) will sit on a facilitated discussion panel.

The panel will be followed by a question-and-answer session, and participants will then break into smaller groups in order to brainstorm, network and coordinate future community mobilizations and actions.

Leading local individuals and organizations will partner with Woolly around this initiative, including African Continuum Theatre Company, Hannah Mothers Campaign, Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, Rock the Vote and Washington Peace Center.

"We don't know what will come out of this Town Hall meeting, but it is vital for us to provide a safe space for the city's community members to share, process, and organize around this verdict," connectivity director Jocelyn Prince said in a statement. "I continue to believe that theatre is uniquely poised to facilitate cross-cultural dialogue and art-making, and that this exchange can positively affect both individuals and our society at large. Through Woolly Mammoth's season-long exploration of what lies under America's sunny exterior, and in particular, through our productions of Appropriate and We Are Proud To Present..­. — two plays that uniquely explore the consequences of our nation's relationship with its troubled history of race relations — we hope to continue this conversation about race and racism, and become a springboard for activism in our community."

The Town Hall Meeting will be held in The Melton Rehearsal Hall, in the lower level of the Kogod Lobby at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, 641 D Street, NW.

This event, which is free and open to the public, is limited to 100 guests, so reservations are required and can be made online at woollymammoth.net.