Connect with us

Arts and Culture

Storytellers Spin True Tales About Life Under Trump

Published

on

Beverly Miles

The tumultuous administration of President Donald Trump caught many people by surprise. Unfolding events have rattled their daily lives and certainties like a strong earthquake, revealing hidden fault lines in how they relate to friends and relatives and causing reflections and reappraisals of values and priorities.

Seeing a need for people to reach out to express themselves and share their stories with others, longtime storytelling artist and teacher Jeanne Haynes has organized a class about the issues, “America Untold,” to help participants create short monologues about how these national and global changes intersect with their personal lives.

Hosted by Stagebridge, the class began Sept. 29 and continues weekly until Dec. 8. At the end of the sessions, the Marsh Theatre in Berkeley will feature an evening of on-stage performances of the artists’ pieces.

Stagebridge has been conducting classes for older adults in the performing arts since 1978. Haynes, who had spent her life working in journalism and public relations, took her first Stagebridge class 21years ago and found her passion.

“A small group of all women talked about storytelling,” she said. “My heart was just beating. I thought this is what I want to do.”

Since then, she has appeared on San Francisco Bay Area stages and as a featured storyteller for major events. Working with Stagebridge, she has taught the art form to over 4,000 local school children and more than 300 adults, as well as working as a private coach for several dozen advanced tellers.
In her introduction to America Untold, Haynes laid out her vision for the class.

“We will work on personal stories, stories based on interviews with people who have opposing views, and stories of community efforts to build bridges among us,” she said.

“While emotions can be expected to run high in such discussions, this will not be a time for rants or insults,” she said. “Civil discourse will be observed for active listening to differing opinions and the development of artfully told stories.”

At the first session last Friday, the 12 participants brainstormed some of their ideas about the issues and situations that could be incorporated into their performance pieces.

Beverley Miles, a retired university administrator, explained that her professional role “has always been to bring people together.”

“Nobody ever sees the problem as the problem,” she said. “It doesn’t have to do with Trump. It has to do with the (social) climate that we refused to change. We don’t want to see the personal responsibility that we have.”

Theresa Nervis talked about how she began to pay attention to what was going on.

“My husband was upstairs, and he was yelling at the TV. He said: ‘You should see this,’” she said.

“It’s time for me now to really look at this thing and what’s happening, “Nervis said. “There were 24 tweets about the NFL and four about Puerto Rico,” referring to the president’s public statements about events in the last few weeks.

Jeff Hanson, a portfolio manager for private families around the country, views the national conflict “as a battle between the bicoastal bubbles and the rest of the country. And I wonder which side is going to win.”
Harry Santi, a lifelong Oakland resident, has always cared about animals. He works as a docent at the Oakland Zoo.

“If Trump had his way, he would do away with the Endangered Species Act, which would really be terrible, said Santi.

Santi said he wants people to understand the connections between the survival of humans and animals.

Sarah Strong, a psychologist, has a brother-in-law who plays golf with Trump at Mar-a-Lago, the president’s resort in Palm Beach, Fla. She also has a son who belongs to a gay synagogue and fears they might be attacked.

“The same consciousness that led to Hitler is alive and well in the United States,” she said.

Samir Saad, who came to the United States from Egypt at the age of 19, said he had a friend who told him there was “no way the establishment in Washington would let this guy be president.”

“After the election, I told him, ‘you lied to me,’” said Saad.

For more information about Stagebridge, go to www.stagebridge.org/

To learn more about storyteller Jeanne Haynes, visit http://jeannehaynes.com/

 

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Art

Last Weekend to View African American Artist Faith Ringgold Special Exhibit at San Francisco’s de Young Museum

The exhibit, titled ‘Faith Ringgold: American People’, is on display until Sunday, Nov. 27, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. at 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco.

Published

on

Faith Ringgold in her studio. Photo courtesy Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. The Sunflowers Quilting Bee’ 1991. Photo courtesy Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Faith Ringgold in her studio. Photo courtesy Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. The Sunflowers Quilting Bee’ 1991. Photo courtesy Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

By Post Staff

San Francisco’s de Young Museum is now featuring an exhibit of the first retrospective of American artist Faith Ringgold on the West Coast. The exhibit, titled ‘Faith Ringgold: American People’, is on display until Sunday, Nov. 27, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. at 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco. Ringgold, 92, specializes in using quilting in her work. Ticket prices, which include access to all galleries, are $25 for adults; $18 for seniors or visitors with disabilities; $14 for full-time students and no charge for children under 16. Go to Tickets.Moma.org for more information.

Continue Reading

Arts and Culture

Former Post Staffer Releases New Film, ‘I Thought You Knew’

With the intent of addressing LGBTQ themes as well as mental health issues and how to cope with them, Haqq Shabazz’ most recent effort, “I Thought You Knew,” follows beautiful and intelligent Lavette, who has just been released from prison after completing a two-year sentence. While inside, she succeeds on her college SATs exam, realizing her desire of going to college.

Published

on

Amir Abu Haqq Shabazz, left, with Elise Neal, an actress who has appeared in several films Haqq Shabazz has produced. Phot courtesy of Haqq Shabazz.
Amir Abu Haqq Shabazz, left, with Elise Neal, an actress who has appeared in several films Haqq Shabazz has produced. Phot courtesy of Haqq Shabazz.

IN YO FACE Filmworks recently released the film, “I Thought You Knew” on the internet and is available for viewing through IMDb.

Amir Abu Haqq Shabazz, owner of Haqq Shabazz Entertainment, and staffer for the Post News Group more than 20 years ago, has produced and/or co-produced many films with Black casts and crews.

With the intent of addressing LGBTQ themes as well as mental health issues and how to cope with them, Haqq Shabazz’ most recent effort, “I Thought You Knew,” follows beautiful and intelligent Lavette, who has just been released from prison after completing a two-year sentence. While inside, she succeeds on her college SATs exam, realizing her desire of going to college.

But things swiftly spiral out of control. To her astonishment, her terrible connection with her father re-emerges as do troubles with her psychotic best friend.

It results in a life-or-death situation.

The stars of the film are Glenn Plummer, Felicia Snoop Pearson, Marcus T. Paulk, Drag-On, Lindsey Cruz, Zaina Juliette, and Michael Monteiro.

The story concept was created by playwright and executive producer Retornzia Riser and the screenplay was written and directed by Conrad Glover.

Haqq Shabazz, Damon Jamal, and Chad Montgomery, executive producers of IN YO FACE Filmworks, led a fine team of line producers in Riser, Cleo Flucker, Anthony A.B. Butler and Emily T. Hall.

Continue Reading

Activism

Saluting California’s Native American Heritage: New Laws, “S-Word” Ban Lift Up Celebrations

Leaders of Native American tribes from across California, joined Governor Gavin Newsom when he signed AB 2022 and four other bills in an effort to build on his Administration’s work to promote equity, inclusion, and accountability throughout the state. 

Published

on

Assemblymember James Ramos host of the Third Annual California Indian Cultural Awareness Event at the State Capitol Aug. 15, 2022.
Assemblymember James Ramos host of the Third Annual California Indian Cultural Awareness Event at the State Capitol Aug. 15, 2022.

By Antonio Ray Harvey | California Black Media

Assemblymember James Ramos (D-Highland), the only Native American elected official in the California Legislature, has been working diligently to get rid of the racist and derogatory word, “squaw,” which has derisively referenced Native American women since the 1600s.

The “S-Word,” which has been used to name public places like Squaw Valley, the popular Lake Tahoe ski resort, is a slur, Ramos says. It is hurtful and offensive to Native Americans, he says, particularly Indigenous women.

On September 23, California Native American Day — which is now a paid holiday in the state — Gov. Gavin Newsom signed several bills to support California Native communities, including Assembly Bill (AB) 2022, which will remove the “racist and sexist slur S-Word,” from all geographic features and place names in California, the governor’s office stated.  The ski resort has since been renamed. It is called Palisades Tahoe.

The negative connotation in reference to Native Americans is as disturbing as directing the N-word at the Black community but it’s been used more commonly in naming public and commercial spaces.

“It is an idiom that came into use during the westward expansion of America, and it is not a tribal word,” Ramos said in a statement.  “For decades, Native Americans have argued against the designation’s use because behind that expression is the disparagement of Native women that contributes to the crisis of missing and murdered people in our community.”

According to the U.S. Census, California is home to more Native Americans with a population of 757,628 (1.94% of the state’s total population) than any other state. Oklahoma is the second highest with a Native population of 523,360.

AB 2022 was introduced by Ramos and Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus.

The bill was sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union CA (ACLU), Restorative Justice for Indigenous Peoples and Renaming S-Valley Coalition, and Alliance for Boys and Men of Color (ABMoC).

ABMoC is a national network of more than 200 advocacy and community organizations that banded together to advance race and gender justice by working to transform policies that are failing boys and men of color and their families.

AB 2022 requires every state agency, local governing body, or political subdivisions in this state to identify all geographic sites, public lands, waters, and structures under its jurisdiction containing the S-word.

Leaders of Native American tribes from across California, joined Newsom when he signed AB 2022 and four other bills in an effort to build on his Administration’s work to promote equity, inclusion, and accountability throughout the state.

“As we lift up the rich history and contributions of California’s diverse tribal communities today, the state recommits to building on the strides we have made to redress historical wrongs and help empower Native communities,” Newsom stated after signing AB 2022. “I thank all the legislators and tribal partners whose leadership and advocacy help light the path forward in our work to build a better, stronger and more just state together.”

Born on the San Manuel Indian Reservation, where he still resides, Ramos is a member of the Serrano/Cahuilla Tribe. He represents the 40th Assembly District which includes Highland, Loma Linda, Mentone, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, and San Bernardino.

Ramos chairs the California Native American Legislative Caucus and Assembly Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.

Two years ago, Newsom signed AB 3121, the California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African Americans. The bill was authored by Secretary of State Shirley Weber when she was a member of the Assembly.

Similar to the harm many Black Californians have suffered, Ramos spoke of the “atrocities and genocide” Native Americans in the state have endured at the 2022 Third Annual California, Indian Cultural Awareness Event held on the grounds of the State Capitol in Sacramento.

Ramos and other speakers acknowledged that the property the State Capitol sits on is the Miwok tribe’s land.

“We’re trying to educate the Legislature of the true history and culture of California Indian people,” Ramos told California Black Media. “It’s that important for us to talk about our culture to explain who we are. If we don’t come out to speak to these issues, those in the state of California will make assumptions about our way of life.”

Ramos added that more than 100 places in California contain the S-word. The United States Department of the Interior earlier this month renamed about 650 sites that have been using the slur on federal lands. The states of Montana, Oregon, Maine, and Minnesota have already banned the word’s use.

“The sad reality is that this term has been used for generations and normalized, even though it is a misogynistic and racist term rooted in the oppression and belittling of Indigenous women,” Garcia stated. “AB 2022 begins to correct an ugly and painful part of our history by removing it from California’s landmarks; it’s the least we can do to help our indigenous women heal.”

The Governor also signed four more tribal measures presented by Ramos, including AB 923. The bill requires state agency leaders to undertake training in properly communicating and interacting with tribes on government-to-government issues that affect them.

The second measure, AB 1314 creates a statewide emergency “Feather Alert” – similar to those used in abducted children’s cases – to enlist public assistance to quickly find Native Americans missing under suspicious circumstances. Native Americans face disproportionate numbers of missing and murdered people in their communities.

“California is ranked No. 7 in the country in terms of unsolved murders and missing people,” Ramos said.

AB 1703, the California Indian Education Act, encourages school districts, charter schools, and county offices of education to engage with the tribes in their area to provide the accurate and complete instruction about the tribes’ culture and history and share instructional materials with the California Department of Education.

AB 1936 authorizes the University of California Hastings Law College to remove the name of its founder, Serranus C. Hastings, from the school’s name. The bill specifies restorative justice measures for the Yuki and Round Valley Native Americans in Northern California whose ancestors suffered mass homicides orchestrated by the college’s founder in the 1850s.

In 2021, Newsom signed six wide-ranging tribal bills introduced by Ramos. Among other provisions, they aid tribal foster youth, create a new monument to Sacramento-area tribes on state Capitol grounds, and bolster students’ right to wear tribal regalia at graduation ceremonies.

In addition, the new laws allow a paid holiday for state court personnel on California Native American Day and streamline access to emergency response vehicles on tribal lands.

Raven Cass, a youth advocate for the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, said Ramos and the legislators who worked with him to pass the bills, “made great strides” in the past year “to protect sovereignty and safety in Indian country.”

They were encouraged by the Native Americans’ concerns and strongly took them into consideration, she said.

“This is the power of community, the power of unity, and the power of voice when it is determined to make a change,” Cass said at the California Indian Cultural Awareness event in August. “The more we work together the more we can get done. I hope (the legislators) continue to stand with us. Our lives matter and the world should know that.”

California Black Media was supported in whole or in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library.

Continue Reading

Subscribe to receive news and updates from the Oakland Post

* indicates required

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Trending