Race Peace is a multi-generational performance project that deals with the debilitating fog of racism in an attempt to provide an opportunity for people to celebrate and explore common bonds, debate their differences, and lay the civic foundation to pursue solutions to the issues that impact their communities. Race Peace was born out in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita as a group of artist and friends with long-standing relationships struggled to address the blatant issues of race at the center of the storm.
Race Peace was originally developed in 2008 by M.U.G.A.B.E.E. (Men Under Guidance Acting Before Early Extinction) based in Raymond, Mississippi and Mondo Bizarro of New Orleans, Louisiana and under the mentorship of veteran artist-activists theater companies Junebug Productions also of New Orleans and Roadside Theater in Norton, Virginia. All of these companies have consistently created work from the stories and music of their own culture and at the same time traverses cultural boundaries while maintain cultural integrity. At the core of this work are painful, unanswered questions about the role racism plays on our personal and professional relationships and, in turn, society at large. We have grafted these difficult questions about racism onto our work and ourselves as a mean of questioning/evaluating the impact that art has in creating change and illuminating disparity about this long-standing and often debilitating social issue.
Race Peace was originally envisioned as a two-year project with the first year being devoted to a series of public and private dialogues in communities and throughout the country with artists and others across ethnic lines. From those interviews, dialogues, and conversations we created a progression of multi-disciplinary performance vignettes. These short, performance explorations take the form of spoken word, music and songs, satire, physical theater, short film and dance. We realized early on in the process that the work we were embarking on could not be limited to a two-year journey, developing an anti-racist lens is at a lifetime commitment. And much like other anti-racist work Race Peace is not static, it is a growing and evolving body of experiences and interactions that inform how we continue to move with and through this work. This project does not aim to dismantle racism, but to begin a process of deconstructing myths and exposing stereotypes that have over centuries eroded our ability to recognize our collective humanity.
Through Race Peace we seek to create a space where people from diverse backgrounds can safely and aggressively challenge the realities and myths of racism in America, in addition to considering how art can engage people into noteworthy dialogue about challenging social issues. Through the process, participants can begin to craft a shared understanding of the complexities of racism, both individual and institutional.
For more information on Race Peace please contact Carlton Turner.
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