The Weeping City is an original Maine Inside Out (MIO) play created in 2009 following a fatal police shooting in Portland, Maine. Portland youth made a direct call to Maine Inside Out to use theater to initiate community dialogue about police violence. Twelve years later, MIO artists chose to bring The Weeping City back to life to remember and honor George Floyd and call our community to action to end state-sanctioned violence and systemic racism. This 2021 version has been adapted and revised by play originator, Nancy Valmond- Bell, the MIO Models for Community Change team and the MIO Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) affinity group.
A DAY OF REMEMBRANCE
On Tuesday, May 25 Maine Inside Out joined a coalition of community artists and organizations organized by Indigo Arts Alliance to hold A Day of Remembrance one year since the murder of George Floyd. In the words of our partners at Indigo Arts Alliance,
“May 25th, 2020 marked a monumental shift in the global conversation around racial justice and the role we all play in actively dismantling systemic racism and white supremacy. For so many of us, the memory of George Floyd’s murder is steeped in layers of grief. True justice would be for his life to never have been so violently snatched away and our hearts will forever be with his loved ones.
Tuesday evening, we were reminded of the power in our collective voices, the power of our collective liberation, and the power of radical love. The fight for Black Lives is far from over, but only together will we be able to create sustainable and equitable change for a world that truly embodies freedom and justice for all.”
Chiara Liberatore, MIO’s representative on the planning coalition, offered this reflection and invitation on May 25:
“When I think about the importance of this day and what we are here to remember I am filled with anger and grief. What I know is that grief can be transformed into power when we find each other and hold on tight, when we mourn together, when we name what should be named, and when we celebrate life.
While planning this event I witnessed us appreciate one another and care for one another. I witnessed us share excitement for ideas and put them into action. I witnessed moments of pause for grief and pain. I witnessed celebration of our creativity and art. We’ve brought this to you tonight and you are here, which means you have joined us. Together, we are a collective that can transform our grief and rage into power. We can move forward together with more connection and more readiness for what we can build with our hands.”
Juneteenth was celebrated in Portland Maine with a two day event in Congress Square Park with performances by Maine Inside Out and Signature Soul and calls to action from Maine Youth Justice, Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition, Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous and Maine Tribal Populations, and the Portland Racial Equity Steering Committee.
Athena Lynch is the founder and organizer of Portland’s annual Juneteenth celebration in Congress Square Park. Athena has been living in Maine for 6 years and attended Maine College of Art in Portland. She is a transdisciplinary socially engaged artist whose work ranges from installation to object making centered story-telling and social engagement. Her work references African diasporic perspectives past, present and future.
Maine Inside Out performed The Weeping City an original play created in 2009 following a fatal police shooting in Portland, Maine. Young people in the community came to Maine Inside Out with a request to create theater specifically to initiate dialogue about police violence. MIO re-staged The Weeping Cityin May 2021 to remember and honor George Floyd and call our community to action to end state sanctioned violence and systemic racism. June 18th is the second performance of this 2021 version that has been adapted and revised by one of the original creators of The Weeping City, Nancy Valmond-Bell, with the MIO Models for Community Change team and the MIO Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) affinity group.
Signature Soul IS A FUSION OF RHYTHM + RHYME + REASON + RESONANCE MADE UP OF THE ECLECTIC DUO. We create and share original poetry, music, and art that capture our experiences and shed light on our aspirations. We facilitate creative expression labs & writing workshops that encourage participants to explore their Voice and to share their truths. We strive towards sustaining an interdependent network of artistic activists, free-thinkers, & community connectors who are dedicated to making our world more creative and peace-full.
Maine Youth Justice is a nonpartisan campaign fighting to end youth incarceration in Maine and invest in a range of community based supports that respond to young people’s needs, support families, and build community. We are a campaign led by young people who have been incarcerated in Long Creek and directly impacted by the juvenile justice system. We are calling for the closure of Long Creek Youth Development Center, the end of youth incarceration, and the reinvestment of the $18.6 million dollars currently being spent to lock up Maine’s youth.
Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition is composed of Maine inmates, their friends and families, victims of crime and others committed to ethical, positive and humane changes in Maine’s prison system.
Indigo Arts Alliancebuilds global connections by bringing together Black and Brown artists from diverse backgrounds to engage in their creative process with an opportunity to serve as both mentors and mentees. An integral aspect of the Indigo vision is to provide Maine based artists of African descent access to a broader range of practicing artists of color from around the world.