Declaration of Purpose
Let me first express recognition of how complex the legacy of Racism is, in all of its forms. There is always a lot of intercultural struggle and discussion throughout the process of bringing this work to the stage. The work of The Conciliation Project is not to present history or to tell the story of people who are perfectly capable of telling their own stories more effectively and authentically than we ever could hope to do. No. Our mission is to promote, through the presentation of active and challenging work, open and honest dialogue about racism and oppression in America in order to repair its damaging legacy. This is the work we intend to do and that is why our plays are designed and presented in the way that they are.
Each and every play we produce could have included MORE information about the actual history and/or culture of the peoples we are featuring in the work. We do extensive research and develop study guides for additional reference and reading to assist our audiences. The history is too long and too tangential to the purpose and mission of The Conciliation Project to be included in the play itself. Research provides us with a wealth of knowledge and information from which we draw poetic dramatizations that become “the play itself.” The Conciliation Project is producing a series of plays all dedicated to exploring and deconstructing Racism in theory and practice, through exposing Racism's historical legacy. We are not attempting to be the History Channel; we do not propose to present the documentary, docu- drama, or biography of any people, person, or event. Our focus is to dismantle and de-construct America’s racist legacy, to examine it, and to dialogue about it openly without the veil of political correctness, so that we may begin the long and arduous process of healing.
The words, images, and historic legacy of Racism in America have their own story to tell. Each and every one of our descendants, our heirs and we are affected by its powerful heritage. That is surely the common ground we ALL can stand upon. Neither The Conciliation Project nor the plays we produce fashioned this damaging and misshapen legacy. However, we have dedicated our work and ourselves to dismantling it piece by piece in order to repair the damage it has caused and rebuild our Nation with justice and liberty for ALL. It is difficult and challenging work. For so often we, peoples of color and whites misdirect our hurt and anger towards the art form, the play or players as though it is they who have created the images, the words and the legacy when in point of fact The Conciliation Project is only staging what has been stated, re-stated and understood since the inception of America. The platitudes on which this great nation was founded have never been blind to color. Racism is imbedded in the soil and must be up rooted and sifted out. Until we recognize our common interests in manifesting that goal, until we can appreciate that we are inextricably bound one group to another then we will never truly be FREE. Instead we will be doomed to repeat ad nauseam the PAST and all of its outcomes. Let us agree or let us disagree but let us do it at the table of dialogue. Let us be brave enough to conciliate our PAST in order that we might reconcile our future together.
Dr. Tawnya Pettiford-Wates, Founder and Artistic Director