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By: Victoria RAE MOORE with Notes/Poems by Anastatia KETCHEN and Omari FOX

 As part of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture’s national People’s State of the Union, conNECKtedTOO hosted two Story Circles at the Cannon Street Arts Center
on Wednesday, February 6.

The day of our Story Circles was the day after the President
delivered his State of the Union address and also the 1st anniversary of the murder of Charleston-based activist, Muhiyyidin D’baha.

Attendees were asked to respond to the following prompt:

“Think of an occasion where art and culture inspired you to act for a cause bigger than you. For example, a play, poem, piece of sculpture, song….which activated your sense of justice. What shape did your action take and were there consequences and/or results?” 

One-by-one, individuals shared three-minute stories while the rest of the circle listened. Notes and poems by Omari Fox and Anastatia Ketchen were created in response to the stories they heard. You can read excerpts below. Their full notes and poem will be published as part of the USDAC’s collection of stories to represent the 2019 People’s State of the Union at

“Art touched me
Even though the sign said do not touch the objects
From the womb to the home
Surrounded me
Hands up don’t shoot you are surrounded by art…”
“Lost tribes graffiti scribes my art is brut on the train
Renard is no basquiat
No herring
No gallery will contain me
And no museum will frame me for my exotic is too message
To grandmaster too slave too jungle that still makes me wonder
How I keep from going under…ground railroad…”
[read the entire poem here]

“…the film is poetry; if I can facilitate conversation, stimulate people to talk and address these problems…”“I met these people and realized art was more than a picture on the wall…”“At one point as I talked to my cast I said, ‘When on stage look at each other as this stage is your whole world. You are very much dependent on each other.’ ”
“Years later I found myself in middle school classrooms teaching and creating tapestries. One sixth grader who created the most beautiful tapestry is now in jail for murder.”



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