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liza jessie peterson

The Peculiar Patriot (OCT 17-28) is amazing audiences throughout its Boston debut. Liza Jessie Peterson’s poetry and command of the stage communicate a story beyond the walls of any theatre and imparts on us a story often hidden below the surface. As we continue discussing mass incarceration, both nationally and within our state, it was important to discuss how ArtsEmerson and Emerson College are working to break down barriers and foster community. The Emerson Prison Initiative,…

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  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….

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  In interviews, Liza Jessie Peterson often talks about The Peculiar Patriot as a love story. Her heroine, she points out, was modeled on the people she would see waiting in long lines in the middle of the night on Manhattan’s Columbus Circle for the buses that were going to take them to see their incarcerated loved ones in upstate New York prisons. They would travel through the night, some as much as eight hours,…

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The United States is the world’s leader in incarceration, with more than 2.2 million people in the nation’s prisons and jails–that’s 716 out of every 100,000 citizens behind bars. In fact, as ArtsEmerson’s Artistic Director David Dower notes, most states, including Massachusetts “have a higher rate of incarceration than nearly every developed nation on the planet,” including countries that have experienced major social turbulences in the 20th century, like former Soviet Republics and South Africa…

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  “It lit a fire in me. I had no idea just how Draconian, and racially biased, and how people are profitting from people being behind bars. So I took this information back to my class and started incorporating it into the poetry as best as I could.” – Liza Jessie Peterson on first learning about the term ‘Prison Industrial Complex’   As a playwright, actor, activist, and educator, Liza Jessie Peterson’s ability to create performance…

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