Remember2019: Clarifying our Mission and Vision
This summer, Mauricio Salgado, Arielle Julia Brown, Ashley Teague and Carlos Sirah spent over a month in Phillips County working alongside community partners – The Delta Cultural Center, Waves of Prayer Ministries, and The Boys and Girls Club of Helena, West Helena and the Boys, Girls, Adults Community Development Center (BGACDC) in Marvel to develop a series of events as well as Remember2019’s mission, values statement, and long-term vision.
Remember2019 is an effort to make space for the congregation of the Black communities and Black cultural workers of Phillips County, AR. Our work is to support and facilitate local practices of self-determination, memory, and reflection, that are directly related to the mass lynching of 1919, the lasting effects of racial terror, and the current and future health of these communities.
We are committed to producing 6 artistic residencies over the next 6 years where local Black cultural workers can facilitate spaces for self-determination, memory, and reflection, that are directly related to the mass lynching of 1919 in Elaine, Arkansas. Those spaces can make room for performances, workshops, exhibits, dialogue, murals, storytelling, and shared meals. The first residency will take place in September of 2018 and will feature a collaboration between the playwright and performance artist, Carlos Sirah, and four blues musicians from different parts of Phillips County. The residency will culminate with a series of performances titled: Remembering Phillips County Blues. This project is a response to the Equal Justice Initiative’s call to reframe our cultural narrative in order to address the divide caused by a history of mass violence and terrorism.
Remember2019, in partnership with Waves of Prayer Ministries, the Delta Cultural Center, and the Boys, Girls, and Adults Community Development Center, are producing two events during 2018. The first is the Remember 2019: Storysharing Institute.
Rooted in Black Delta storytelling traditions, the stories of Phillips County, Arkansas are brilliant and inspiring in form and content. In support of this tradition, we are launching a Storysharing Institute in February 2018 in Phillips County to support the stories of the Black communities of Phillips County remaining in the possession and traditions of the region, and to build a coalition of cultural workers and community members mobilized to gather stories. Look for more information about this program in the coming months. If you are interested in collaborating on or participating in this program, please email email@example.com
The second event is Remembering Phillips County Blues, presented during the first week of October. Carlos Sirah will be collaborating with four local blues musicians to create a series of new works that interweave spoken word and the blues. Carlos will spend the month of September in Phillips County crafting the pieces with the four local musicians. Remember2019’s community partners will identify local musicians that come from the long standing tradition of the delta blues in the region.
Our Journey, Summer 2017:
July 3-7, 2017 – Elaine Heroes Workshop – In partnership with the Elaine Legacy Center. This week long workshop for 30 – 40 youth, 3 to 15 years of age from Elaine. Youth named and celebrated their local heroes. The youth told stories, created songs, played games and practiced affirming rituals. Our team worked alongside members of the community that served as teachers, administrators and support staff.
July 10-14 – Visiting Helena-West Helena Heroes – In partnership with The Boys and Girls Club of Phillips County and the Delta Cultural Center, this project supported DCC in developing a youth theatre program. Similar to our workshop in Elaine, this workshop focused on local heroes. We worked with 20-30 youth between 4-12 years of age. The students played theater games, built songs, and told stories. Our team included the Rev. Dr. Kyle Miller. The week culminated in a small sharing for both groups and their parents at the Boys and Girls Club in West Helena and included the opportunity for families to sign their children up for a future theatre program.
July 20 and 29 – Mural Project for the Visual and Performing Arts Project at the Boys, Girls, Adults Community Development Center (BGACDC) – The mural was the first created by the new Visual and Performing Arts Project at BGACDC and featured the drawings of the youth at BGACDC. The mural project included two workshops where 16 students between 4-12 years of age drew images that reflected their ideas about family and then culminated with a full day of painting on a 9 by 25 foot wall on the BGACDC building.
July 30 – A Staged Reading of Scapegoat by Christina Ham This play by award winning playwright Christina Ham was presented in partnership with the Delta Cultural Center. Scapegoat is a play that stretches between the histories of the 1919 Elaine Massacre to the present day. Following four characters, Effie, Virgil, Uly and Ora from the bloodshed of the massacre through to our modern day, this play explores how racial issues from the past can still haunt us today. The play was read by 4 actors from Little Rock: Warren L. Booker Jr., Agnolia B. Gay, Monica Clark-Robinson and Greg Robinson and included live music preformed by Julia Buckingham and Steven Juain Young. The reading was broken up with conversation with the audience about their histories, experiences and opinions as members of the Phillips County community. Food for the event was catered by The Bistro and and give the audience and cast a chance to mingle and further discuss the play