Roger Williams’ Vision of Justice and Equality


Event Details


Roger Williams’ Vision of Justice and Equality:  How did Williams envision racial and ethnic equality for the future city of Providence — a haven founded in 1636 for all those “distressed of conscience”?   Where are we now in Providence today with respect to achieving racial and ethnic equality?

Two Providence performance artists — Jose Rodriguez and Christopher Johnson —reflect in their work on justice, community and racial equity in Providence today.   Parks Service Ranger John McNiff will begin with a brief historical context for the program.  After the two performances there will be a conversation between Jose Rodriguez, Christopher Johnson, John McNiff, Barnaby Evans and the audience.

Jose Rodriguez
“I Won’t Love You If…”
Story and performance by Jose Rodriguez
Adapted for the stage and produced by Holly L. Jensen
Directed by Nancy Lucia Hoffman
Media design by Archie Johnson
Premiered at FringePVD in July, 2016

If you drop out of school in 7th grade, how will you navigate a world where reputation is everything and simply staying alive is a challenge every day? How far would you go for acceptance and safety?

In this solo performance, Jose Rodriguez shares his personal journey from growing up on dangerous streets, to his years behind bars, and then his return to the same dangerous streets, this time working for peace.

Christopher Johnson
“New and Dangerous Ideas”
Performed and written by Christopher Johnson

While on a 20 day artist retreat in Sedona Arizona, America lost the lives of Delrawn Small, Philandro Castile, and Alton Shelton to police violence within a single 24-hour period. It was then Christopher decided to break his silence on his own arrest for walking while black in Providence, Rhode Island. What was uncovered was a history of police violence in his city perpetrated by his arresting officer.

This new work by Johnson confronts the idea of a government established to protect individual “liberty of conscience,” equality, civil rights and tolerance in a country where the rights of “citizenship” can be challenged due to skin color being criminalized.

Author: Tim Blankenship

I work on websites.

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