The reality is...humanity is interconnected and our responsibility is to live lives that advance the causes of justice and eliminate the causes of oppression.
-Carlton Mackey (Creator of BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE™ & 50 Shades of Black)
50 Shades of Black partners with donkeysaddle projects on the 2016 Land Day Tour of There Is a Field.
There Is A Field is a play about Aseel Asleh, a 17-year old Palestinian citizen of Israel killed by police in October 2000. Based on 15 years of interviews, emails and transcripts, the documentary-style play tells the intimate story of a family's journey through grief and their struggle for justice. While offering a uniquely personal view into the inequality and stateviolence faced by Palestinian citizens of Israel, There Is A Field transcends any particular time or place to reflect on oppressions in Israel/Palestine, the United States, and around the world. Audience members who have grappled with the epidemic of police violence in the U.S. will find particular resonance with themes raised by Aseel’s life and murder, and post-play discussions will contribute to the vital national conversation around the systemic devaluation of Black life in the United States, and to the intersectional struggle for social justice.
SETTING THE STAGE FOR JUSTICE
Together with the playwright, Jen Marlowe, and a coalition of civil society partners, 50 Shades of Black has been working with several partnering organizations to develop a curriculum to accompany the play on its university tour in March-April 2016. The curriculum will ground post-play discussions/workshops around the human rights issues raised in the play, as well as the roles of law and art in social transformation.
The program will offer audiences the opportunity to engage with artists, scholars, and human rights defenders and consider ways to advance advocacy efforts on campus. In the last year, we have been working closely with community organizations and activists involved in the movement for Black lives and the hope is that the play contributes to the growing Black-Palestinian solidarity and the intersectional struggle for social justice.
CLICK HERE to learn more about There Is a Field
This unity wasn't a show for a weekend display of their ceremonial parading of guilt and confusion and despair of not knowing what to do in the midst of "someone else's claims" of injustice. It was a committed, sustained way of living by a critical mass of people that was rooted in conviction and framed by an unwavering principle that each person's fate was connected to the other. They operated as if they had been operating under this conviction for a long time and had no plans of turning back.
Every act was activated by groups of people with (from my frame of reference) no identifiable majority. The community shared a singular focus. Though each person had their own struggles, they channeled it into a single effort.
Uplifting the value of black life and doing what they could to dismantle systems that didn't, even if they benefited from them, was their charge. It was as if everyone knew that at this particular moment in history and in this particular place this was the call they must answer. It was as if they knew, without saying a word, if the call were to change and the focus needed to be shifted to anyone else in the group, they would all collectively answer it.
We offer this statement first and foremost to Palestinians, whose suffering does not go unnoticed and whose resistance and resilience under racism and colonialism inspires us. It is to Palestinians, as well as the Israeli and US governments, that we declare our commitment to working through cultural, economic, and political means to ensure Palestinian liberation at the same time as we work towards our own. We encourage activists to use this statement to advance solidarity with Palestine and we also pressure our own Black political figures to finally take action on this issue. As we continue these transnational conversations and interactions, we aim to sharpen our practice of joint struggle against capitalism, colonialism, imperialism, and the various racisms embedded in and around our societies. (From the 2015 Black Solidarity Statement with Palestine)