This past weekend, ArtsEmerson was honored to be a part of the 10th Annual Boston Book Festival! Beyond interacting with our community and meeting so many of you, we also were a part of the “Arts Activism in America: Igniting Change” session in Dudley Square, moderated by our artistic director, David Dower, and featuring Liza Jessie Peterson (THE PECULIAR PATRIOT), as well as famed poet and leader of the Black Arts Movement, Askia Touré.
Beginning with a fifteen minute performance of her play, The Peculiar Patriot, Liza Jessie Peterson opened up the room to a broad discussion of poetry, how words impact change, and how we delve into injustices with art. While the conversation weaved through several topics, it was clear that these artists were propelling change by using their voices and then encouraging audiences across the world to engage in dialogue.
After her performance, Askia Touré looked at Liza Jessie Peterson and beamed “it’s like the future is talking back to me.” It was amazing to see the legacy of these two artists and the connection across generations through their activism and passion for poems.
The session ended with the Askia Touré’s apt comment that “Hatred isn’t only destructive but it’s self destructive. We have much more in common than difference as human beings,” speaking almost directly to the mission of ArtsEmerson itself: using theatre to connect across difference and ignite public dialogue.
Video footage of the performance and discussion will be up on our YouTube channel within the next few days, but in the mean time be sure to check out our Twitter and Instagram for our coverage of the event!