“Our Journey Towards a More Perfect Union:
Challenges and Rewards”
With Moderator Charlayne Hunter-Gault
April 19, 5- 6:30 p.m.
This four-part series brings artists, and arts and civic leaders together for
courageous conversations about inclusion and diversity in the arts. Panel members in this event are Dorian Emerson Munroe, Calvin Alexander Ramsey, Sr., W. Paul Coates, and Sarah Ladipo Manyika
(Sarasota-Manatee, FL; March 15, 2021) The Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative, a nonprofit organization that promotes using the unifying power of the arts to nurture inclusion and diversity across the regional arts and cultural landscape, presents “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the Literary, Film and Media Arts,” as part of its free, four-part Arts & Racial Justice Panel series, Monday, April 19, 5-6:30 p.m., via the Zoom webinar platform. The moderator for the discussion is Charlayne Hunter-Gault. With a focus on literary arts and film, Hunter-Gault will discuss with the panelists their journey towards a more perfect union with its challenges and rewards. Hunter-Gault is a leading civil rights activist, journalist and former foreign correspondent for National Public Radio, CNN, and the Public Broadcasting Service. Panel members include Dorian Emerson Munroe, a filmmaker and director; W. Paul Coates, a publisher, author, and former member of the Black Panther Party; Calvin Alexander Ramsey Sr., a playwright, author, and photographer; and novelist Sarah Ladipo Manyika. The series is sponsored by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, and is a collaboration with Florida Studio Theatre’s Forum Series. The event is free, but registration is required at www.suncoastblackartscollaborative.org by April 16.
According to Michéle Des Verney Redwine, SBAC’s president, SBAC’s Arts and Racial Justice Panel series provides a forum for artists and arts and civic leaders to participate in a dialogue Redwine describes as “courageous conversations.” The first panel, in January, explored issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the visual arts. The second panel, in March, focused on the performing arts. The final panel will center on education with a date to be announced soon.
“We were overwhelmed with support for our first two panels in January and March,” says Redwine, explaining that more than 350 people joined each panel session. “The discussions were lively, vital and extremely enlightening. It illuminated the long journey ahead, but this is a great beginning.”
Redwine adds that, “Diversity is the first step in building a healthy community. How can we point out our blind spots, widen racial parity in our organizations and civic infrastructures, encourage diversity hiring criteria, and highlight opportunities for artists of color in our region? How can we offer access to the arts to both artists of color and audiences of color? This series looks hard at real-life challenges, provokes and questions and, ultimately, explores transformative solutions.”
W. Paul Coates is the founder of Black Classic Press and BCP Digital Printing. Black Classic Press, founded in 1978, specializes in republishing obscure and significant works by and about people of African descent. BCP Digital Printing was founded in 1995 as a parallel entity of the Press. A former member of the Black Panther Party, Coates led the effort to establish the Black Panther Archives at Howard University.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika is a novelist, short story writer, essayist, and founding books editor for Ozy.com. Her debut novel, In Dependence, is an international bestseller while her second novel, Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun, has been translated into several languages. Her nonfiction work includes personal essays and intimate profiles of people she meets, including Toni Morrison, Margaret Busby, and Michelle Obama. Ladipo Manyika currently serves as the board president for the women’s writing residency, Hedgebrook, and is creator and host of the Museum of the African Diaspora’s conversations-across-the-diaspora. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a San Francisco Public Library Laureate, and a member of the National Books Critics Circle.
Dorian Emerson Munroe is a first-generation Miami creative, born to Caribbean parents who migrated from Guyana, South America. Out of high school, Emerson Munroe accepted a full athletic scholarship to play football at the University of Florida where he was part of two National Championship winning teams. With a lifelong passion for the arts, and after a brief professional career, Emerson Munroe pursued his second love, filmmaking. After working on shows for networks such as MTV, VH1, and VICE; he shot, directed, and edited his debut feature film, American Town (2018), starring Dakota Powers. His most recent project, These Kids This City (2019), recently took top prize at the Oolite Arts and Tribeca Film Institute grant contests.
Calvin Alexander Ramsey, Sr., is a playwright, author, and photographer. His first work, The Green Book, a two-act play about the difficulties African Americans faced while traveling during the Jim Crow era, had its world premiere at Atlanta’s Theatrical Outfit in 2004 and went on to win recognition as a finalist in the 12th Annual Last Frontier Theatre Conference. The play has since been performed in New York City, Chicago, and Baltimore. In 2010, Ramsey published Ruth and the Green Book, the only book written for children to explore the legacy of the Green Book, and he is the author of several other plays, musicals, and children’s books. His Green Book projects have expanded to include The Green Book Chronicles, currently in development and co-produced by Becky Wible Searles. A former member of the Advisory Board of Special Collections at Emory University’s Robert F. Woodruff Library and the Georgia Council for the Arts Theater Panel, Ramsey is a recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major for Justice award. Ramsey serves as a trustee to The Bronx Museum for the Arts in New York City and the Paul Green Foundation in Chapel Hill, NC.
For more information about the Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative, visit www.suncoastblackartscollaborative.org.
About Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative
The Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative is a nonprofit organization in Sarasota-Manatee, FL. Its mission is to advocate for greater exposure to African-American artists and artists of African descent throughout the greater Sarasota-Manatee region and to provide educational forums and symposia to expose area residents, visitors, students, and others to the work of these artists. Visit www.suncoastblackartscollaborative.org.