The mission of this project, conceived by the creative team of Orpheus Music Global (OMG), is to connect and engage the academic community with the city’s neighborhoods using its creative voice through poetry, music, visual arts and multimedia technology to encourage community “response” rather than “reaction” to violence and unrest that have beset this country long before the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Freddie Gray in Baltimore City. We intend to take new works of poetry, music, visual art and multimedia presentations to concert stages and exhibition spaces to share with communities around the country. Our goal is to spark public dialogue and meaningful social action. While we are not unmindful that women are also victim of homicide, our special focus is on black males who in cities like Baltimore account for more than 80 percent of the carnage each year.
To establish local, regional and national engagement for this project through a concert tour premiering “Mother’s Lament” in the cities associated with black males whose deaths touched the nation’s conscience, including Chicago, IL. (Emmett Till); Jasper/Houston, TX. (James Byrd); Sanford/Orlando, Fl. (Travon Martin); Ferguson/St Louis, MO. (Michael Brown); Los Angeles, CA (Stephen Eugene Washington); and Baltimore, MD. (D. Roderick Cook). We will invite the families of the boys and men lamented in the poem and other families in these cities who have lost loved ones to homicide to attend our public performances. In this multimedia tribute to families’ of survive these losses we will we will remember and acknowledge these family members through this creative work. We hope that the activities and events will serve as a means of creative healing; encourage community dialogue with families, churches, schools, city officials and law enforcement; and inspire effective positive community RESPONSE over the usual polarizing and ineffective REACTION which have often led to more violence and loss. In addition we will partner with organizations that focus on serving the needs of children, families in grief and citizens committed to positive action for change.