Anna Deavere Smith’s “Notes from the Field”

The time is now. It isn’t tomorrow. Not yesterday. Today. Anna Deavere Smith delivers a series of remarkable monologues – remarkable for their raw content as well as her impeccable delivery – espousing the immediacy of action in her one-woman show Notes from the Field. annadaevereMs. Smith moves through the most recent canon of youtube videos and news clips, spotlighting the on-going flagrant abuse of human rights meted by the police on our black youth. girl-beatenThe images – horrifying not only for their stark violence but also their all-too-familiar content – offer a window on a society in terrible flux, on the verge of change. freddiegrayprotestsAnd that, Ms. Smith says, is the key. It is a window of change, an opportunity to join forces and effect movement, guide the politicians toward investment in the future, not in law and order, but in chance for the disenfranchised by the decaying system, the off-spring of the psychological damaged society founded on slavery.

Ms. Smith opens and closes the show by citing Sherrilyn Ifill, President of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund: “I encourage your discomfort, that you must contribute, that you must make your voice heard.” sherrilynifill“That is the essence of good citizenship, that bone-deep sense of obligation that you must work to improve our democracy, and to improve it especially for those who are most marginalized and most in need.”

See the show! Playing in New York now:

The Right Thing in Baltimore (and Everywhere) is Change

Events unfolded this week in Baltimore almost exactly as they were played out in Spike Lee’s 1989 film Do the Right Thing. o-DO-THE-RIGHT-THING-ANNIVERSARY-facebookA black man was killed in custody. B1NZoDDOkmAnd black people rioted. hqdefaultWhen will there ever be any real change? do-the-right-thing-ossie-davis-and-ruby-dee-1170pxThis doesn’t have to be a rhetorical question. Democracy is supposed to address issues of social justice. tumblr_ljmt0svmsK1qccq5aNew leaders need to be elected – what about a new political party? – laws passed, and change should follow.