Why the justice movement needs the arts
It was an exciting week on the She Has A Name front with a series of interviews and stories in the media and a reading from act one of the play in Calgary at Mount Royal University. I’m grateful to the people giving the play airtime, for our PR Wizard who is helping us to get the word out, and for people on the ground locally who are picking up the story because they believe in it, and want to see us succeed.
The week was a whirlwind in a good way. It invigorated our team and encourages us to press on. We certainly have momentum. Our funding is trickling in, but we’re not there yet.
As I reflected on the play, having been asked to share why I wrote it in the first place, I was a little perplexed. What a question to answer! Perhaps it should be an easy one to tackle. I’ve answered it a number of times but answering the same question repeatedly has a way, for me at least, of starting to sound unconvincing. And I wanted to be really connected to what I said; authentic.
It became even more clear to me how much the justice movement needs the arts as I attended the event at MRU. It was great to connect with Dr. John Winterdyk and very sobering to hear Yvon Dandurand speak about the realities of human trafficking and the progress countries are making to take on the issue on a global scale. There’s so much work to be done, and the cold hard facts of the issue – the enormity of it, the seeming insignificance of what we’ve accomplished despite the urgency of what needs to be done to help victims – are certainly daunting.
The arts can and will compel many into action as they bring us together in our common humanity. Story is a way in. Imagining one life, one human story, enables us to imagine and believe that we can do something to address the unimaginable, helping one person in need. Imagine if one hundred, a thousand, one million people were compelled to help someone in this way?
I was grateful for the opportunity to present a portion of the play to an audience, to hear it again, to confront and to be confronted by the issue, remembering that the soul needs to bear witness to such difficult realities and not turn away. I’m constantly encouraged that there are so many people willing to bravely look into the darkness and who refuse to let it win.
If you have a moment, check out some of the coverage we’ve received in the press this week: