C.H.I.N UP -
Critical Hope is Needed
Reviewed by Amalisha HuEck
Walking The Beat 2023 is the movement of the transformative power of live theatre by getting together the Fountain Voices Students and our everyday LAPD officers. This ground-breaking experience for everyone involved: Youth, Police and the audience is beneficial and uplifting. These arts educational programs are transforming the lives of young people and 'cultivating the ability to tell their own stories' with unique opportunities for growth, interaction and
The life lessons are shared by all the students and officers. Interestingly, most of the kids had a challenging experience with some (not kind) officers in the past. Even some of the cops who are now serving as the LAPD joined the force to make a change in our society, because of their own dark experiences when they were young. Collectively, the intention is to make a positive difference in our communities and in the world.
"In these highly charged times, nothing is more urgent than promoting better understanding between young people of color and the police who serve their communities," notes artistic director Stephen Sachs. "Walking The Beat does just that and more. It changes lives. The powerful curriculum and methodology have been proven - through pre and post workshop interviews, surveys and testimonials - to produce real, on the ground change.'
In the charming outside theatre space at the Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave. LA, the collaboration with Elizabeth Theater Youth Ensemble and the LAPD, the solidarity took over. After the police asked, 'When you see me in my uniform, what do you see?' And once the Youth overcame the fear and discomfort of being close to the Police and they felt comfortable of sharing their feelings, the magic of the stories took us all to an amazing journey of love and respect, hope and courage, and empathy and trust. The important change of perceptions from 'what color of the skin someone has or race' - to seeing everyone as the Divine Spark of God and the belief that the community agreement to work together will bring the brighter tomorrow to everyone. We are all human and we should all be treated the same. Youth is our future and we need to help them to become the best they can be.
Thank you to students: Renae Coward, Alicia Delgato-Hernandez, Andy Ascencion, Brittany Diaz, Chayenne Hughes, Divinagloria Ozuna, Hardy Flores, Iker Monge, Jeimi Martinez, Melina Torres, Mildred Martinez, and Monica Avagyan.
Thank you to Police: Sergeant Anthony Stafford, Detective Shrhonda Morris, Officer Fred Henricks, Officer Alejandro Arambula, Officer Keisha Cayton, and Officer Jose Olivera.
Thank you to the Fountain Theatre Staff who made this happen: Stephen Sachs - Artistic Director, Simon Levy - Producing Director, James Bennett - Producer, Scott Tourney - Technical Director, Barbara Goodhill - Director of Development etc.
Thank you to a BRAVE youth and our (GOOD) Police who is here to Serve and Protect us all. We hope that one day every Police Personal will be like you.
*** A Special thank you to the Fountain Theatre Board Members.