Rallying to support Marcus Books – Oakland’s historic African American bookstore – Delroy Lindo hosted the “Black Men Speak” series last Saturday with Danny Glover, Shabaka Henley, and John Burris at the Heart & Soul Center of Light, 1001 42nd St. in Oakland.
Andriette Earl, Founding Minister of Heart & Soul Center of Light, thanked Lindo for pulling together such a dynamic event to speak to the issues affecting our communities.
“There’s no transformation of the planet until we do our inner work,” she said.
Lindo said the primary goal of the event was to organize support to fight for the survival of Marcus Books – one of the only Black owned bookstores left in the country, but to also “discuss what freedom means in the 21st Century,” with the rising political unrest following non indictments in the cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
Henley, Lindo, and Glover performed monologues from various plays that directly spoke to the issue. Lindo and Glover performed a powerful scene from Douglas Turner Ward’s “Day of Absence,” a one-act play that examines the consequences a small southern community experiences with the disappearance of its Black population.
Along with Henley, the trio also performed a scene from August Wilson’s “Joe Turner Come and Gone.”
Burris joined the men on stage in a discussion to add a legal standpoint on how these situations occurred and how to move forward.
The deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown are not an aberration, he said. “Those two cases illustrate the system doesn’t work in a fair and impartial way,” said Burris. The only case where he ever obtained an indictment and later a conviction of a police officer was when Oscar Grant was killed by a BART officer, he said.
We must “change the dynamic between police and community,” added Lindo. This was the second event of a three-part series. The final event will happen in early 2015.