Art & Culture

we will win: An Artist Response to Injustice

| Ana Maria Alvarez |

In the wake of Ahmad Arbery’s murder, Jose Cano — the drummer of Las Cafeteras, a music group that we have collaborated with over the years — reached out to me. We both felt so angry and upset, and decided to create something together as a way to channel all of these feelings. The idea was to take several lines of a piece we created for the stage called “Miranda Rights” — it’s a part of our evening length work, joyUS justUS — and Jasmine Stanley (CONTRA-TIEMPO co-member and our community engagement coordinator) took the golden lines from this piece and created a text response. We asked our respective groups (CONTRA-TIEMPO and Las Cafeteras), friends, families and neighbors to be a part of it by making signs and adding their movement to the mix — and in less than a week we put this piece out to uplift, heal and reframe the narrative of hopelessness. For me, this is an example of what’s possible when people come together and share themselves for a message and idea that is beyond any of us as individuals. We all needed this — we needed to create something amidst so much loss — and we need to keep remembering the power of this futuring: WE WILL WIN. 

we will win: An Artist Response to Injustice

A song for Solidarity. A poem to remember. So we never forget.

Jose Cano of Las Cafeteras was inspired to create this piece and bring others who were hurting into the process. 

In collaboration with Jasmine Stanley, Ana Maria Alvarez, and Jannet Galdamez of CONTRA-TIEMPO. Featuring Cecilia Cano, Ruby Morales, and Alan Perez

Additional guests include: members of Las Cafeteras, @conjuntobruja, Sonny Singh, Curtis, Samad Raheem Guerra, and Luca Alvarez-Lowe

Directed by Luis Horacio Pineda

Music by Jose Cano with guest Eddie Valenzuela

This is our protest

This is our protest is a piece called ‘the court scene’ that was written by Samad Raheem Guerra and performed by Jasmine Stanley as a part of our touring work called joyUS justUS. I wanted to make this piece a living, breathing work that could live online during the lock down as an expression of our collective power to protest. As a parent whose primary role during this quarantine has been to keep my children safe and well — it’s felt so hard not to be able to be marching everyday on the front lines — especially while it has felt like this is the moment I’ve been preparing for my whole life. I’ve had to find another way to protest, to push back, to engage and it involves art making, parenting, loving on my community and creating support for those in my community who ARE on the front lines… this is my protest 

This original piece is from the full evening length version of joyUS justUS (2018)

This is a version we created for audiences to experience this piece outside of the theater 

Music by Las Cafeteras

Performed and improvised by Jasmine Stanley and Dalphe Morantus 

Choreography was a collaboration between Ana Maria Alvarez, Chris Cuenza, Samad Raheem Guerra, Dalphe Morantus and Jasmine Stanley 

Film by Kinship Filmworks / Tiffany Judkins

Art & Culture

A Tribute To Sandi Smith

| Leola Bermanzohn |

This is a portrait of Sandi Smith from my first mural Women Warriors, painted in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, NY in October-December 2001.

Sandi, Sandra Neely Smith, was one of the Greensboro Five – five people shot & killed by the KKK at an anti-Klan protest in Greensboro North Carolina on November 3rd, 1979. She was a good friend of my parents, who named my sister after her. She held me as a baby, and was a favorite auntie to many of the kids.  My father told the story that, as the shooting began, people cleared out of the way to safety. My pregnant mother crouched between two cars. Sandi was pulling the children from harm’s way, & got behind a wall. She peeked her head out to see if there were any kids left out there, and that’s when she was fatally shot.

Just about every time I look out behind me, & literally every time I’m on my bike & turn my head all the way back to check the traffic (several times every single ride), literally every time I do that I think of Sandi Smith sticking her neck out to make sure all of the kids were okay.