I so appreciate the support that I’ve received to continue the work that I’ve been doing in the community. So I wanted to do a report back on my month’s activities to show where your money has gone:
Community Innovation Lab: A partnership between the Kheprw Institute, Spirit & Place, Groundworks Indy, and EMC Arts, I am the artist facilitator for this community project. The purpose is to explore the challenges in Indianapolis to economic empowerment and human agency faced by two particular groups of our fellow citizens – women “returning citizens” (formerly incarcerated) and youth aging out of foster care. Through interactive and artistic activities, we unpack some of the complexity around these issues and why the Lab’s “adaptive response” approach is particularly well-suited to uncover new efforts aimed at systemic change. Three have been completed in this series with three left to go.
Afrofuture Fridays series: On the second Friday evenings of the month, I’ve been leading a community discussion on Afrofuturism. I wanted to do a couple re-caps of how the discussions went. 
I won’t lie: I expected 6 people to show up. However, when I showed up an hour early to set up, there were already folks waiting on me (see above pic). From the re-cap on my blog: “Afrofuturist art is the intersection of a black cultural lens, technology, liberation, and imagination. It bridges the past and future to critique the present. It creates awareness, raising consciousness, and maps potential futures. It begins with a journey of self-discovery, exploring black identity. It involves a radical imagining as we break apart systemic baggage. It constantly asks “What future do you want to see?” as it imagines alternative visions of tomorrow. It allows conversations about race and oppression that people don’t know how to have. Our goal with Afrofuturism Fridays is to create a space to imagine and dream of possible futures. We will build a better tomorrow together. And that’s why Afrofuturism represents hope.”
Now I’m nervous from the other side of things: I don’t think I’ll be able to top what happened in our discussion of Black Panther. It was standing room only (and well out of frame). From the re-cap on my blog: “If you think Black Panther was just another superhero movie, then you’ll probably be thrown by our discussions on race, colonialism, the relationship between black Americans/Africans, who the real hero of the movie was, and the role of technology in our communities.” On that blog I include some of the clips that I used during the talk and summarize some of the discussion, but the conversation was so lively, we didn’t even get to the role of technology in our communities. So that will be continued next month as we do “From Wakanda to Parable of the Sower.”
I did a signing with Angela Jackson-Brown and we had such a great time at the signing, we looked for an excuse to join forces. So I just came on board (a pun, I apologize) the Jackson Brown Entertainment board. Jackson Brown Entertainment is dedicated to telling new, more inclusive stories that expand the boundaries of mainstream theatre as well as provide training opportunities and free theatrical experiences for those in under-served populations of our community. We want to reach out to more people within our community who want to be part of the magic of the theatre.
Coming up:
Mo*Con. I have partnered with the Kheprw Institute, Spirit & Place, Empowering Cuisine, and Sip N Share Wine, all grassroots organizations doing a lot of work in the community. Things are shaping up for this to be a truly special return of the event.
-Juneteenth Event. We’re pulling together a dozen grassroots organizations and activists for a citywide event. I’ll be report back soon on how that goes.
I’ll end this the way I ended my Black Panther discussion which has become how I’m navigating what all I’m doing: “For now know that there is no Wakanda, but the dream of such powers us—black people around the world—to continue to stand up and forge the reality of it for ourselves. As T’Chaka told his son, T’Challa, “Stand up. You are a King.””