Story by Valentina Garcia, Staff Writer
Photo courtesy of http://www.nj.com
Mark your calendars for Thursday, February 25, from 7-9 p.m. The Jane Hibbard Idema Women’s Studies center along with the Center for Diversity & Inclusion are bringing the Ebony Road Players once more to Aquinas College, this time presenting a staged reading of Having Our Say at the Wege Ballroom.
The Ebony Road Players are not new to Aquinas. In fact, group founder Edye Evans Hyde is an Aquinas alum. Ebony Road Players are a West Michigan black theatre company. As stated on their website, their mission is to “inspire, educate, and engage cultures of our community with high quality theater productions focused on the black experience.”
Latoya Booker, Director of the Center for Diversity & Inclusion, states that the Ebony Road Players “provide a much needed platform for black actors and artists to showcase their talent, which might otherwise get overlooked.”
The group began in 2014 and their inaugural show, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When The Rainbow is Enuf, was actually shown at Aquinas. This production consisted of staged reading of 20 poems depicting struggles and obstacles that African American women face in their lives. They have had various programs since then.
Having Our Say follows the story of Delany sisters Sadie and Bessie. The staged reading is based off their book with the same title. The sisters are funny and feist, and their story “demonstrates how vision, tenacity and courage can help strong people prevail over seemingly insurmountable odds, it is also a testament to the human spirit, wherever it is found,” as described on the Having Our Say website. Their book has won several awards and has been translated into six languages.
Amy Dunham Strand, Director of the Jane Hibbard Idema Women’s Studies Center, highly encourages students and faculty to attend the performance.
“For anyone interested in black history, women’s history, and American history — or on the intertwining of race, class, and gender in real women’s lives — the Delany sisters’ story covers it all,” Strand stated.
This performance is a great way to bring both Black History Month and Women’s History Month together.
“[Ebony Road Players] provides the community at large a way to engage with issues relevant to the Black experience, participate in conversations about race and celebrate Black culture,” Booker said.
We are provided with the opportunity to attend this performance on race and gender just as one month comes to an end and another to a beginning, and it would be a shame to miss out on it.
Apart from the performance on February 25 at Aquinas College, the Ebony Road Players will be performing Having Our Say on March 10 at Hope College and March 12 at Grand Rapids Hope Christian Reformed Church. The event is free and open to the public ($20 donations are suggested). For more information about who the Ebony Road Players are visit: www.ebonyroad.org
About the Writer…
Valentina Garcia is a first year student who loves sunny days, Jane Austen, and preferred tea to coffee until she started college.