Free Funny, Serious, One-man-race-relations Play at Touro Feb. 14

Vallejo Times Harold
By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

A free, one-man show chronicling the “poignant and comedic, ... changing face of the African American experience,” is being offered free on Valentine’s Day at Vallejo’s Touro University’s Farragut Ballroom, organizers announced.

As a visual chronicle of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, The Movement highlights many of the political, social, and cultural markers of the last 50 years, they said. With humor and poignancy, Emmy Award-winning writer/performer Ron Jones’ 10 characters tell of the struggles met and of those still faced, organizers said.

It’s a special Black History Month event and part of a social justice series sponsored by the university’s College of Education and Health Sciences, they said. It’s free and open to the public.

“It’s part of a group called Dialogue on Diversity, (a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit educational organization) and this is our second presentation by them,” Public Health program director, Gayle Cummings, said. “We had one called the Black-Jew Dialogues, back in November, and that was very interesting and done in a funny and engaging way that made people feel good when they left.”

That, and the upcoming piece, focus “on shared experiences, understanding history; talking through how much is shared in common in our American makeup,” Cummings said. “We’ll continue to bring this group back here every year.”

Black History Month is one reason for the timing of the presentation, she said.

“We want to celebrate Black History Month; to recognize the struggle of black history and what that means today,” Cummings said. “Also, it’s about providing entertainment because on one hand, especially in the public health program, we get so bogged down in closing the health gaps and understanding each other, that sometimes, we need a little humor to do that.”

The Movement celebrates African Americans’ contribution to the United States and offers “one more discussion point to understand our commonalities as human beings in this country,” she said. “There is much to celebrate, including our common goals in shaping our world into how we’d like to see it.”

The Movement: One Actor, Ten Characters, Half-century of Race Relations, is scheduled from 6 to 7:30

p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14 at Touro’s Farragut Ballroom at the Farragut Inn, 1750 Club Drive on Mare Island.