"What is activism?" "What is the intersection of art and activism?" "How has social media affected activism and the spread of information?" "How do we all show up for Black lives?"
On this episode, I interview Marla Louissaint (she/her), a Haitian-born performer, published model, activist, abolitionist, visionary, and life-long student who is also the founder of the non-profit Claim Our Space Now. Marla didn't anticipate being an activist, or "artivist" as she likes to say. She says how it is something the ancestors chose for her because she had many things she wanted to say and people needed to hear them. Marla shares how the lynchings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and far too many black bodies at the beginning of 2020 was "the straw that broke her back." She decided from this moment that she had to do something to get those not just in her communities but all in for the fight for Black lives. Marla shares her 2020 journey: from sending a call out to various Jimmy Awards (The National High School Musical Theatre Awards alum) to call out James Nederlander (who the awards were named after) who had been revealed to have donated significant funds to Donald Trump's campaign. The goal was for him to donate funds to various Black Lives Matter organizations and to stand in solidarity with the black and brown alumni who had gone through his program. Marla shares how this initial spark led her to founding her non-profit Claim Our Space Now, who's mission is to provide resources and aid in the fight for Black lives.
We also discuss:
The necessity for all to get in on the fight against racism in all fields: medical racism, environmental racism, educational racism, etc.Questioning the systems around us and where our funds are actually going.The use of social media to spread information and also the racism that keeps Black, Brown, and Queer creators down.Claiming space and knowing who you are so you can be intentional with your life.
Resources for Further Learning:
How Marla Louissaint is Making the Revolution Irresistible from Playbill.com
Organization of the Week: Claim Our Space Now
Show Produced by Nick Eibler
Co-Produced/Edited by Addison McKissack
Theme Song written by Matt Gregory, Colin Egan, and Mike Hubbard
Produced by Colin Egan and Mike Hubbard
Logo Design by David Pavón