Collective Sun- Letters

 1 in every 10 Black males in his thirties  is in prison or jail on any given day – The Sentencing Project

“Collective Sun-reshape the mo(u)rning” is a multi-media, community intervention performance piece, that draws from more than five years of research, organizing and programmatic work that has been the emphasis of local campaigns to end mass incarceration, racial profiling, and the school to prison pipeline.  As survivors of domestic and state violence, sexual assault, gang aggression, displaced/fractured families, and drug dependence, Collective Sun visionaries, dreamed about authentic accountability, grounded in an understanding of our struggles and our value. “Collective Sun,” creates a platform where families and community members can use their own experiences and voices to become solution-oriented and civically engaged around issues facing their local communities.

The Collective Sun Experience:

  • The Performance – Collective Sun is a 45-minute series of vignettes exploring the impact prison and policing has on the Black community.

  • The Talk Back – An important component of the Collective Sun experience, the talk-back  creates a space for audience participants to process their own experiences and share their visions for change.

  • The Collective Action – (In partnership with the Prison Books Collective) Audience members are invited to write messages, (sometimes called love notes or flying kites), on Collective Sun postcards. These postcards are included in packages that are sent to incarcerated individuals across the south.

One audience participant shared a personal story during a collective Sun Talk-Back about never having enough time to visit his incarcerated mother when he was a boy. “We’d visit her and then have to travel 50 or 60 miles to go visit my uncle who was also in prison.” Fighting tears he talked about the “little bit of soul” she placed in every letter she sent.”  Finally he thanked us, “I didn’t know why I was coming here today” he said, “I’m just glad that I did.”

Another, formerly incarcerated, audience participant had this to say: “Thank you from the bottom of my soul! I literally cried the tears that I have held in for over 16 years… You incredible people, with the souls of masters, have done more in my healing process and the transformation of my being than I can ever explain.”

Since its February, 2012 inaugural performance, several organizations have booked “Collective Sun – reshape the mo(u)rning” for community actions and other venues including: The Duke Law School’s 1st Annual Criminal Justice Law and Policy Symposium, The Southern Coalition for Social Justice, The Hemispheric Institute, The National Black Theatre Festival and the Alternate Roots.

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