9 Grams Featured in The Huffington Post


Renowned scholar Dr. Kali Gross discusses how this Progressive Pupil production shows the international impact of mass incarceration and racial profiling. Read here

“Stop Killing Us” 3 Things to Do With Your Grief and Rage


Police dressed in riot gear accost peaceful protester in sundress. Baton Rouge. Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Reuters.

To be candid, this past week I’ve struggled to write Field Notes. As you know, at Progressive Pupil we strive to remain optimistic. A steadfast faith in the power of collective action and community-based leadership, rooted in the successes of social movements in the past, drives our work. Hearing the news of the killing of Philando Castile in Minneapolis, Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, and Delrawn Small in New York, as well as witnessing the grief of their children, tested that faith.

I lost my mother and grandfather (who was a surrogate father to me) a few years ago and understand the pain of losing a parent as an adult. I can only begin to imagine the despair losing a parent causes a child. Seeing Alton Sterling’s 15 year-old burst into tears, nearly collapsing from grief, while his mother expressed outrage about his father’s death overwhelmed me with sadness and frustration. At a press conference, they stood in front of a sign that read “Stop Killing Us.”

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9 Grams


Produced by Progressive Pupil’s Executive Director Robin J. Hayes, the 9 Grams play follows a Hollywood screenwriter (Maisha Yearwood) who is placed in solitary confinenent in a Turkish prison because of where she’s from and how she loves. The play is part of a transmedia project that aims to illuminate Black women and the LGBTQ community are impacted by mass incarceration.  The next staged reading of the play is part of the ProudAF Theater Festival in New York City. July 16, 2016. Tickets available at thetanknyc.org. 

Limonade III: Healing the Haitian Diaspora

Haitian American musician Wyclef Jean with Haiti’s flag 

During the Caribbean Studies Association 2016 conference I met a number of brilliant young Haitian-Americans, including a 20-something Cornell PhD candidate whose project focuses on Black feminist political theory in contemporary novels by Caribbean authors. Her mother emigrated from Haiti before she was born and left the country permanently in the early aughts. I had to admit to her my ignorance of the precise details of Haitian history that motivated her mom to leave Haiti.

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Limonade II: Of Zora and Zombies

Clockwise from left: author Zora Neale Hurston, Hurston and her partner Percival Punter, and Haitian “zombie” photographed by Hurston during her fieldwork 1936-1937.

On the tap-tap (Port-au-Prince take on the dollar cab/combi/collectivo) from Touissaint Louverture airport yesterday, I had the good fortune of running into Prof. Daphne LaMothe of Smith College. An expert in African American literature, Prof. LaMothe shared with me that Zora Neale Hurston wrote the essential novel Their Eyes Were Watching God here in Haiti in just seven weeks. 

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Limonade


Off to Haiti! Black and Cuba will be screening at the annual Caribbean Studies Association conference. I’ll be answering questions and hearing feedback afterwards. It is my first trip to Haiti and I’ve already learned so much in preparation. 

Did you know:

  • Haiti has a lower homicide rate than the Dominican Republic and Jamaica?
  •  Vodun which we call “Voodoo” accepts followers of all genders and sexual orientations? 
  • The first place Columbus landed in Haiti in 1492 was renamed Limonade ?

Being a Black revolutionary often requires making lemons into Limonade. I’ll be sharing more of my journey during the next two weeks on The Progress and Instagram @robinjhayes.

Long Live Prince

 

See a 1982 concert by the legend
Our hearts go out to the entire Paisley Park family. May he rest in power. 

Podcast: Schools or Prisons?

In some neighborhoods, public schools feel more like prisons than schools. In this episode, former social worker and attorney Helen Higginbotham discusses the policing of children in schools with BLACK AND CUBA director Robin J. Hayes.

Written/Directed/Produced by:
Ariana Arancibia
Phyllis Ellington
Echo Sutterfield

Executive Produced by:
Dr. Robin J. Hayes

Recorded in New York City at TNS_Logo1_Small_RGB

Podcast: What’s Art Got to Do With IT?

Can art help to erase racism? In this episode of BREAKING DOWN RACISM, dancer, choreographer and activist Paloma Mcgregor discusses how artists can be effective activists?

Produced/Written/Directed by: Crista Carter, Johanna Galomb and Benjamin Jackson

Host/Executive Producer/Series Creator Robin J. Hayes, PhD

Recorded at The New School in New York City

PICTURED Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, “Revelations” 2012 courtesy Alvin Ailey Theater

Podcast: Black Moms

In this episode of “Breaking Down Racism,” blogger and author GaBrilla Ballard opens up about how the challenges of discussing race with children and pushing aside stereotypical assumptions of what it means to be a Black Mom.

Produced by Azra Samiee
Directed by Chris Stafford
Written by Caroline Batzdorf
Host/Executive Producer Robin J. Hayes, PhD

Recorded at The New School in New York City.

Pictured Chicago mother and child. 1973. photographed by John H. White for the Environmental Protection Agency.

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