My one-woman show, Why Would I Mispronounce My Own Name? has been on stage at The Marsh Theater in San Francisco almost a month.
Thank YOU to all who have been at one of the performances. A special welcome to those of you who signed up for my newsletter, or are now linked with me on social media.
Please tell your friends and colleagues about my show; we built audiences through word of mouth.
I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of inviting Talkback Speakers who join me on stage at the end of the show for a 30-minute conversation. Each speaker has shared with the audience astute observations and commentaries on the state of civil rights in our nation. These conversations have been videotaped and they will be posted on my website sometime in the not too distant future. I will let you know when these videos are up.
The only one available for viewing, as of now, is my talkback conversation with Rinku Sen. If you aren't yet familiar with Rinku Sen and her work as a racial justice advocate, please subscribe to her blog, https://mavenroundtable.io/rinkusen/, You'll thank me later.
Here is the list of the Talkback Speakers featured this past month:
The Role of Art in Promoting Social Justice
Rinku Sen, Maven, Author, Activist, Thinker and Doer (former Executive Director and Publisher of Colorlines). Rinku's blog about my show and the video of our talkback, available here.
How Technology Can Help Us Learn ‘Difficult’ Names
Praveen Shanbhag, Founder of Name Coach (name-coach.com) software that enables individuals to record their names and append digital links to social media, email; widely used by educational institutions
Implicit (Unconscious) Bias, What It Is and How We Reduce the Impact of Our Biases
Christopher Bridges, Attorney, Equal Justice Society
Victoria Plaut, Director, Culture, Diversity & Intergroup Relations Lab and Professor of Law and Social Science, UC Berkeley
Naming Your Baby: What’s the Law Got To Say About It?
Carlton Larson, UC Davis Law Professor, and author of Naming Baby: The Constitutional Dimensions of Parental Naming Rights
Wherever There’s A Fight: How Runaway Slaves, Suffragists, Immigrants, Strikers & Poets Shaped Civil Liberties in California
Elaine Elinson and Stan Yogi, authors of this book published by Heyday Books and winners of a California Book Awards Gold Medal
National Origin and Race Discrimination in Employment
Bill Tamayo, the former Managing Attorney of the Asian Law Caucus serves as District Director of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and appeared in his individual capacity
MALDEF: 50 Years Fighting for the Civil Rights of the Latino Community
Tom Saenz, President & General Counsel MALDEF
The Lawyer as Storyteller: Lawyers and Solo Performers
Mark McGoldrick, a public defender, reflects on his life and the lives of his clients in his acclaimed solo play, The Golden Hammer
Super grateful to these Talkback Speakers for taking time from their busy schedules. I am also very appreciative of all y’all who have provided me feedback at solo performance classes, storytelling groups, Sunday morning hikes, or at various mini-performances where I’ve presented bits and pieces that have shaped the script of my current production. Your support means a lot to me. Gracias.
And the icing on the cake is that so many out of town friends: from law school, my first law job as a legal aid lawyer, and traveling companions from various trips, have used my play as a good reason to travel to San Francisco. Y’all have come and are coming from NYC, Seattle, Portland, LA, and parts in between, and we’ve had and will continue to have some great reunions. It is an absolute thrill to get together with you.
Another HUGE bonus -- interactions with audience members about the impact of my show on them, and hearing your name stories. At my last show a gentleman came up to me right after curtain call. "I want you to meet my wife; her name is Irma." (he pronounced it URma). As I say in my play although that’s not the pronunciation of my name, I totally respect that this is how some people say their names, and I honor their pronunciation. So I meet my tocaya (namesake in Spanish) who tells me she is originally from Switzerland and that in her home country, her name is pronounced just like mine, and she’d like to start being called that. I very excitedly introduced the newly re-christened Irma to the entire audience, and I’m thinking her husband will be changing how he says her name too.
It's your name and you get to decide how it is pronounced. Others might not be able or willing to say it, but why would YOU mispronounce your own name? If you consciously mispronounce your own name, I'd love to hear how that got started and your feelings about it.
If you live in the Bay Area and haven’t yet seen my play, please come on out --Thursdays at 8 pm and Saturdays at 5 pm, scheduled to run through December 8th, five more shows left in this run. Some of you have come more than once, bringing friends and family members. I organize group outings when I see something I really enjoy and want to share it with friends. So thanks to those who have done that. So easy to get to The Marsh, close to public transportation (10 minute walk from 24th St. BART) and lots of great restaurants in The Mission District.
The show lasts approximately one hour (no intermission), we take a five minute break so those who want to leave may do so, and that is followed by the Talkback which lasts about 30 minutes. This Saturday, the Talkback Speakers are Michael Harris and Jason Okonofua shedding light on The School to Prison Pipeline, and efforts being made to diminish the number of our youth who are pushed into the criminal justice system.
Michael Harris is Senior Director, Juvenile Justice at the National Center for Youth Law (NCYL). At NCYL, Michael has worked on litigating unconstitutional probation practices, reducing racial disparities in statewide juvenile corrections systems, and pursuing cases that challenge the “school-to-prison pipeline” in Texas, Connecticut, and California. Additionally, he works on litigation to address implicit bias, and he has delivered presentations to local and national gatherings on the role implicit bias plays in decision-making within the criminal and juvenile justice systems as well as the school to prison pipeline. Before joining NCYL, Michael was Deputy Director of the W. Haywood Burns Institute, working in California, and Washington to reduce racial disparities in the juvenile justice system, using a collaborative process to achieve systemic reform. Prior to Michael’s work at the Burns Institute, he was Assistant Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area where he worked on a broad range of civil rights cases. More at https://youthlaw.org
Dr. Jason Okonofua is a social psychologist in the Psychology Department at the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Okonofua is interested in science-based and scalable strategies to combat inequality in society. This work spans contexts such as education, criminal justice, and business. It investigates how negative stereotypes can contribute to inequality in these contexts and how that process can be dismantled. For example, some of his research in education investigates how the effects of one person’s stereotyping and another person’s threat reverberate and escalate over time. He asks how stereotypes about stigmatized children can shape how they interact with teachers, administrators, and police officers. He also develops theory-based psychological interventions that protect teacher-student relationships from the deleterious effects of stigma and bias. Dr. Okonofua's work is situated to inform psychological theory, field experimentation, and public policy. Learn more at www.jokonofua.com.
Tickets still available, starting at $20, at themarsh.org.
Wishing all a wonderful weekend.