This afternoon I attended an open rehearsal for Penn State’s presentation of The Every 28 Hours Plays. The work’s title refers to the statistic that every 28 hours a person of color is a victim of systemic violence. Structurally, the work consists of one-minute plays grouped together with an ensemble cast utilizing spoken text, song, percussion, and tableau staging. The minute-length plays drew upon very recent and longstanding injustices in American race relations.
It was traumatic, it was intense, it was ugly, it was heartbreaking.
The actors provoked audience member’s realities and world views as they evoked poignant symbols and statures of the fight for justice.
I experienced the effects of gun violence at multiple points in my white middle-class upbringing; however, those experiences were not the result of a targeted population. They occurred as accidents and one-off schizophrenic behaviors. I at least have some relief knowing that they weren’t specifically after me, or predisposed towards injustice because of who I am.
This is different. Black lives are being subjected to scrutiny, hate, intolerance, and oppression. Black lives matter. Even though that belief is being proclaimed in streets and communities and blogs, it is not a universally accepted truth. It is an argument, a political foible, a vengeful statement of privilege.
Every 28 Hours takes place in communities across America. For more information, visit: The Ferguson Moment.