ROOTS Week Story Circle

Stories to Pass On: Two C/APP Projects Explore Trauma and Healing 

by Nicole Gurgel; Austin, TX 

 Passing on stories of trauma-stories that tell the truths of oppression-is key to healing ourselves and our communities. In many different ways, this year's Community/Artist Partnership Program projects do just this: the hard, necessary, beautiful work of telling stories that"are not ones to pass on." Passing these stories on is a resistant act in and of itself, and it paves the way for more. Each of our C/APP projects is rooted in deep community engagement; if a performance or screening is at the center of the project, its impact is felt far beyond the site of performance. Through digital storytelling, open mic nights, in-school programming, and broad arrays of community partners, these projects reveal the power of art embedded in community and directed toward activism. It is at this potent nexus – art, community and activism – that we can begin to imagine new systems that will transform our world.  Read the full story here.

Speed the CAR: Creative Arts Reintegration 

by Andrea Assaf; Tampa, FL & 

Linda Parris-Bailey; Knoxville, TN

Speed Killed My Cousin, The Carpetbag Theatre's newest play, is a multimedia performance rooted in the story of an African American female soldier and her struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder upon her return home from Iraq. While driving down the L.I.E., she tries to talk with her father about his experience in the Vietnam War, and her cousin-a Vietnam veteran who died in car crash shortly after his return. She also remembers the women she left behind in Iraq, some of whom did not survive. Memories and scenes unfold before her, and in the rear-view mirror, as she's driving. Ultimately she must decide whether to let go of the wheel, as her cousin did, or to choose life.  

In conjunction with the play, we are developing a model of Creative Arts Reintegration (CAR), creating avenues for veterans to tell their stories, and for communities to better understand the challenges that veterans face in the process of returning home. We are working with service providers, peace activists, cultural workers and resource people who assist in the healing process with veterans and their families; with African American communities impacted by the traumas of war, disaster and violence; and with women who have been victimized by sexual violence. 

Both the play Speed and the CAR process are about un-learning violence, as a society and as individuals. Theatre, Digital Storytelling, and deep community engagement are the methods by which we do this. They are also the practices that allow us to "release the demons that hold us hostage over time." Read the full story here.

Alchemy: A Tale of Duality

by Nia Wilson; Durham, NC


Dear Durham,

Make no mistake, you are growing disparity by choice.

You have pushed whole Black communities out of their homes and Black males out of your schools, while scrambling to secure the newest parts of you. Zero tolerance, probable cause, wars on poverty and drugs-you've gleaned from third grade classrooms to fill jail cells, and feel safe.  


This part of the tale may seem harsh, but the most loving thing I can do is be honest and stay committed to you. Our calloused hands digging deep in your roots work beside generations of first breath of your air, first steps on your soil. 

Your blood is in their veins, they are still pulsing through you. Their voices in your abandoned streets, you can hear them demand you, re-examine what you value. 

ADT signs and charter schools protect little more than your fear,  guns and gates secure mostly empty rooms, while, you crave the mem'ry of your  grandfather's hands.  

Your mother's inate reflex when she heard your first cry. 

We are all longing. 

How much you must miss, by avoiding my eyes…Read the full story here.