On Juneteenth, 'Who We Are' reexamines racism and white supremacy in America
"If we don’t deal with this, it will tear us apart," said Jeffery Robinson of the ACLU, whose renowned lecture is the basis of "Who We Are."
Tuesday marks Juneteenth, the celebration that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States on June 19, 1865. But as racism and social injustice did not end with the abolishment of slavery, it is an apt day for the interactive performance of “Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America.”
Directed by Gbenga Akinnagbe, “Who We Are” is based on the renowned lecture by ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jeffrey Robinson, which reexamines the country’s 400-year history of white supremacy. It takes place at The Town Hall at 7 p.m.
“We are at a tipping point in this country, and the walls that we’ve built between each other based on race and on wealth are not high enough to keep the tide back,” Robinson said. “And if we don’t deal with this, it will tear us apart.”
“Who We Are” also includes performances from Emmy- and Golden Globe-winner Alfre Woodard, as well as Amy Ryan, Denis O’Hare, Jay O. Sanders, the Resistance Revival Chorus and others.
Tuesday’s performance will be the basis of a feature-length documentary. Additionally, Robinson and the organizers are in the process of creating a high school and college curricula.
“The history Jeff shares is not easy but it is necessary. We knew, the moment we heard Jeff speak, that we had to help him bring his talk to a wider, national audience,” said Sarah Kunstler, who with her sister, Emily, is the founder of Off Center Productions and the daughters of late civil rights lawyer William Kunstler.