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‘The Space Between Stillness and Action’: A town hall on recovery and activism after the killing of George Floyd

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If you need a place to go on this first anniversary of the police killing of George Floyd, if you want to gather with community in a space empowered by self-care, culture, activism and faith, please join The WNET Group and ALL ARTS on May 25 at 5 p.m. Eastern for “The Space Between Stillness and Action,” a town hall conversation about creating justice and recovery with Michael Mwenso, Rev. Kaji S. Douša, Dr. Danielle Hairston and Vincent Southerland. Moderated by Michel Martin.

For more information and to watch the livestream on May 25, visit Thirteen.org/May25.

On April 20, 2021, the former police officer on trial for killing George Floyd was found guilty of murder, and that is a victory of sorts. But justice is the least that was owed and reaching it should not be a high bar. Moreover, George Floyd — father, brother, son — should never have been murdered in the first place.

On April 11, 2021, about 10 miles from where Mr. Floyd’s loved ones were sitting through that trial, a 20-year-old Black father named Daunte Wright was shot and killed by a police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minn. Nine days later, on the same day that a jury declared Mr. Floyd’s killer guilty on all counts, a 16-year-old Black girl named Ma’Khia Bryant was gunned down by a police officer in Columbus, Ohio.

How are those events to be understood and met by communities at the front lines of experiencing and responding to oppression? For people seeking a response to moral injury and injustice, what tools are needed to navigate the space between stillness and action? Join The WNET Group to discuss on May 25.

The panel coincides with the launch of “The First Twenty,” a new content initiative from ALL ARTS that explores how the first two decades of the 21st century have forever changed American art, culture and the collective consciousness. The initiative begins May 25 at 8:30 p.m. Eastern with “Michael Mwenso Honors George Floyd,” a powerful concert homage featuring some of today’s greatest Black artists, on the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s killing. The special will stream nationwide on the ALL ARTS app and allarts.org, and in the New York Metro area on the ALL ARTS TV channel (channel lineup).


Panelists

Michael Mwenso was born in 1984 in Sierra Leone and began singing and playing piano after he moved to London as a child. At age 16, he began leading his own bands and performing with jazz groups in various parts of the world. In 2010, Wynton Marsalis invited him to join the programming team at Jazz at Lincoln Center and head the After-Hours program at Dizzy’s Club. During this time, Michael formed Mwenso & the Shakes, a troupe of global artists whose music merges the highest forms of entertainment and artistry while commanding a formidable breadth of jazz and blues expression through African and African-American music. Artist, bandleader, TV host, co-founder of Electric Root. mwensoandshakes.com

The Rev. Kaji S. Douša is Senior Pastor of the Park Avenue Christian Church in New York City, known as a congregation of fearless activism. She is the first woman called to that role since the congregation was formed in 1810. A prolific writer and speaker on issues of Christian ethics and the need for a radical moral awakening in this country, Pastor Douša preaches nearly every Sunday at The Park and is invited as a keynote speaker across the country. Known for her work to inspire and activate movement leadership, she has served as co-chair of the immigrant-led New Sanctuary Coalition for almost 10 years. parkavenuechristian.com, newsanctuarynyc.org

Dr. Danielle Hairston earned her medical degree at Howard University College of Medicine. She was Chief Resident for the Department of Psychiatry at Howard University Hospital, where she completed her general psychiatry residency. In 2018, after continuing her career at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, she returned to Howard University College of Medicine and was appointed the Psychiatry Residency Training Director. Dr. Hairston serves as the Black Psychiatrists of America Scientific Program Chair, and the American Psychiatric Association’s Black Caucus Early Career Representative. Dr. Hairston is a national and international speaker about the impact of racial trauma and culture on mental health, and a contributor to the book Racism and Psychiatry: Contemporary Issues and Interventions. daniellehairstonmd.com

Vincent Southerland joined the Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law at NYU Law as its inaugural Executive Director in 2017. As of July 2021, he will join the law school faculty as an Assistant Professor of Clinical Law, to teach the Criminal Defense and Reentry Clinic and serve as Co-Faculty Director of the Center. He has dedicated his career to advancing racial justice and civil rights. Southerland came to NYU Law after serving as an Assistant Federal Public Defender with the Federal Defenders for the Southern District of New York since 2015. Previously, he was Senior Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), where he engaged in litigation and advocacy at the intersection of race and criminal justice, and led LDF’s advocacy around race and policing. He serves on the boards of The Bail Project, the Federal Defenders of New York, and the Center for Constitutional Rights. law.nyu.edu/centers/race-inequality-law

Moderator

Emmy-winning journalist Michel Martin is the weekend host of NPR’s “All Things Considered” and former host of “Tell Me More.” Martin currently serves as a contributor for PBS’s “Amanpour and Company.” Her previous credits include ABC News, Nightline, as well as covering politics for The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. Martin has been honored by numerous organizations, including the Candace Award for Communications from The National Coalition of 100 Black Women. Martin graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College at Harvard University in 1980 and earned a Master of Arts from the Wesley Theological Seminary in 2016. In 2019, Martin was elected into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences for outstanding achievement in journalism.