Friday, November 15, 2019

Soul’d—Vanport Mosaic—N. Portland



                 Soul Credit

    This engaging piece of American History is conceived and directed by Damaris Webb and written by Webb and The Project, also a co-producer.  The ensemble cast consists of La’Tevin Alexander, Catherine Braxton, Tyharra Cozier, Sydney Jackson, Shareen Jacobs and Salim Sanchez.  A companion piece to this presentation is the short documentary, Root Shocked, produced by Cecilia Brown.  It is playing at the IFCC space, 5340 N. Interstate Ave., through November 24th. For more information, go to their site at www.vanportmosaic.org

    We, the People…Perfect Union…Freedom for all…Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness…words of our Founders.  Are any of them present nowadays in their purest form?  To be honest—No.  Changes that have evolved since then, “We, the People,” are now the servants of the President, not he of us.  Freedom for all has actually never been fully instituted.  Our “Union” is scattered, shattered and split, at best.  And Pursuits of any kind for All People have long since flown out the window.  In short, we are a nation of Immigrants (except Native Americans) who have never learned to get along!

    And so, now we are faced with a unique example of this in the “white-bred” Oregon, especially Portland.  We here seem to be repeating and echoing the treatment of a race that were kidnapped from their native countries and had to perform as forced laborers for the white, landowners’ pleasure.  With great restrain, African-Americans have had to endure over hundreds of years the insults, lynching’s, mis-carriages of justice, lack of human rights, etc.  But now it is time for the tide to change and, although we may not be able to completely right the wrongs of the Past, at least we can listen, with open hearts and minds, with a resolve to not repeat those mistakes.  “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”

    This ensemble traces some of the humiliations that they and their ancestry faced, much of the facts are brought out in their version of a game show, mouthing in no uncertain terms, how they feel, based on true examples from our Past.  I won’t go into details because some of it is quite startling and should be witnessed by an audience first-hand.  The short documentary that follows does give one some hope for, perhaps, a better tomorrow.  But, as said, all this really needs to be witnessed on an individual basis and then translated to our everyday lives.  Our Founders sensed a Hope for this American experiment.  Let us not let ourselves down.

    I highly recommend this production.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.
--DJS

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