America Too: Reckoning and Resilience marks the sixth year of the America Too initiative. This 5-part online series combines theater, music, and art with stories from our community and seeks to catalyze community dialogue around the many challenges and potential opportunities of this particular moment, as we confront the aftermath of a polarizing election season, observe the year’s anniversary of the arrival of the pandemic in Rhode Island, and reckon with the structural racism and anti-Black violence that continues to rock our communities. After five online episodes, the project will culminate in an outdoor, in-person event.
Each episode will investigate the impact of the challenges of the past year with free, hour-long programs, anchored by Michelle Cruz, Christina Bevilacqua, and Joe Wilson, Jr. The series kicks off with a look back at the origins of the America Too program and the legacy on which this year’s project builds. Subsequent episodes will explore education, health, activism, and service with a culminating performance for the final event.
Access to these live streaming events is free, but reservations are required. Register here. Videos will be posted to our website the day after each episode airs.
Throughout the spring, we will be soliciting community stories and participation. You can participate by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by leaving a voicemail at (401) 259-0676.
Episode 1 – January 28, 7:30 pm: America Too Revisited (watch here)
Christina Bevilacqua and Joe Wilson, Jr. discuss the origins of the America Too project, including its start in the Every 48 Hours project.
Episode 2 – February 25, 7:30 pm: It’s Our Education (watch here)
Featuring a performance of the poem “The New Normal” by Cranston High School 10th grader Tosin George. Tosin is also part of a conversation moderated by Joe Wilson, Jr. and Christina Bevilacqua with additional guests Jassmen Lee Johnson (parent, artist, educator, RI Dept. of Health Artist-in-Residence); Sokeo Ros (storyteller, hip hop dance educator, scholar); Amy Lopes (5th grade teacher at William D’Abate Elementary); and Athena Holloway (Classical High School 10th grader).
Episode 3 – March 25, 7:30 pm: It’s Our People (watch here)
The episode will examine the sense of community lost and regained in the pandemic through activism, and by the efforts of small business owners, musicians, artists, and filmmakers. We’ll also talk about the work of public artists and skaters to bring life into a desolate Downtown Providence during the pandemic and BLM movement (including in our own theater space with murals from local artists), and how our neighbors and partner, Providence Public Library, provided needed access and connection to our community.
Hosts Michelle Cruz, and Joe Wilson, Jr. with guest host Janaya Kizzie from PPL will be joined by special guests Asher Schofield (owner of Frog & Toad), Kenny Borge (local skater and filmmaker), Angela Gonzalez (public art activist), and Sidy Maiga (award-winning musician).
Episode 4 – April 22, 7:30 pm: It’s Our Health (register here)
This episode will focus on mental health during the pandemic and the healing power of the arts in our communities. Hosts Michelle Cruz, and Joe Wilson, Jr. with guest host Janaya Kizzie from PPL will be joined by special guests Dr. Dana Dillon (National Alliance on Mental Illness – Rhode Island) and Ashley Frith (Community MusicWorks), who will also perform on the viola.
Episode 5 – May 27, 7:30 pm: It’s Our Service (register here)
Episode 6 – June 17, 7:30 pm: Culminating Event (register here)
A live in-person culminating event for the America Too: Reckoning and Resilience series. The event will be held outdoors in Adrian Hall Way, next door to the theater. Safety precautions including social distancing and mask-wearing will be in place.
Michelle Cruz is Trinity Rep’s director of community engagement; Christina Bevilacqua is the Providence Public Library’s programs and exhibitions director and Trinity Rep’s conversationalist-in-residence; Joe Wilson, Jr. is a member of Trinity Rep’s resident acting company, the creator of the America Too initiative, and also serves as an assistant professor of theatre and dance at Wheaton College and an adjunct professor of theatre at Emerson College.
This project is made possible in part by a grant from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities seeds, supports, and strengthens public history, cultural heritage, civic education, and community engagement by and for all Rhode Islanders.
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or Trinity Rep.