RestorationART at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation is rallying the NYC arts community for “Speak Freedom,” an artistic gathering commemorating the arrival of the first slave ship, on Sunday, August 25. 

This Sunday marks the actual day when the first slave ship, the White Lion, made the Trans-Atlantic voyage to the United States in 1619 to bring 20 and odd people of Africa to the shores of Jamestown. Four-hundred years later, RestorationART, a community anchor for Black arts and culture, is hosting “Speak Freedom” to celebrate the power of artistic voices — as one voice — at this moment in the nations history.

Terrance McKnight. Photo credit: FB

Since the Civil Rights Movement, Restoration Plaza has been a town square for voices of justice, said Dr. Indira Etwarro, executive director of the Billie Holiday Theatre and RestorationART. Like many of us, our communities and our institutions, we were forged in the kiln of movements where people reached across difference and stood together to speak up for the freedoms of all people and to speak out against injustice, ignorance and bigotry. We cannot tire in the fight for justice.

The event, led by award-winning radio host Terrance McKnight, is looking for art leaders, musicians, dancers, actors, spoken word artists and poets to present artistic work or words of inspiration within the topic of Speak Freedom. Participants will have 5 minutes to share non-partisan speeches and presentations.

Whether its a baobob tree or a ballot box, communities of like-minded people have a way of coming together in crunch time, said Knight. “Its crunch time and well forge ahead together making art for a brighter tomorrow. I look forward to this communal gathering.

Artists interested in participating in “Speak Freedom” should send an email to [email protected] with SPEAK FREEDOM SIGN-UP in the subject line to hold a time slot. 

Speak Freedom will take place on Sunday, August 25, from 12:00pm to 6:00pm, at Restoration Plaza, at1368 Fulton Street. To attend, RSVP here

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