Art, Health, and Equity in the City of Richmond

Lecture | December 2 | 6:30-8 p.m. |  Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

 Betty Reid Soskin; Donté Clark; Ptah Tracey Mitchell

 Arts + Design

Presented by the City of Richmond and UC Berkeley Arts + Design

Betty Reid Soskin, National Park Service, Ranger at Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, CA
Donte Clark, Playwright, Storyteller, Former Poet Laureate of Richmond, CA
Ptah Tracey Mitchell, West Contra Costa Unified School District

Author, activist, and park ranger Betty Reid Soskin; writer and Richmond native Donté Clark; and poet, author, and educator Ptah Tracey Mitchell discuss the City of Richmond—its colorful past, shifting present, and how art and health play and integral role in its future. With complex issues related to gentrification, equity, and culture, Richmond’s ecosystem is emblematic of the ongoing evolution in the Bay Area’s communities.

Betty Reid Soskin: Author, Activist & Park Ranger. Entrepreneur, civil rights activist, and civil servant. Betty Reid Soskin has seen—and made—a lot of history in her lifetime. At 97, she’s a National Park ranger and one hell of a storyteller. “History has been written by people who got it wrong. But the people who are always trying to get it right have prevailed,” says Reid Soskin, “If that were not true, I would still be a slave like my great-grandmother.”

Donté Clark, born February 27 1990, a native of Richmond California, is one of the most prolific writers and voices out of the Bay Area arts community. Donté is not only eclectic in the art of storytelling through the spoken word, his body language and musical presence in performance is poetry in itself. He captures the complexities of what it feels and looks like to be vulnerable within black masculinity while governed by a society of white supremacy and hyper violence amongst black youth.

Poet, author, and educator Ptah Tracey Mitchell is a recent 2018-2019 recipient of the Neighborhood Public Art Mini-Grant sponsored by the Arts and Culture Commission of Richmond, CA. to produce his first stage play Money Speaks: In Streets. Money Speaks is a community intervention project that uses theater as a therapeutic artistic healing tool to confront trauma caused by violence. Mitchell is also founder of the Hug A Thug Book Club, a rite of passage mentor program that speaks truth to youth saying, “Crack A Book Before You Get Booked”. Born and raised in Richmond, CA. Mitchell attended San Francisco State University and became a member of the San Francisco School of African Philosophy. His writings have been published in educational journal, magazines and his book entitled Ghetto Folklore was used as a textbook in the Communication and English Department at Laney College and San Francisco State University. Mitchell is currently working as an Educator in the West Contra Costa Unified School District and he is working towards obtaining a Master’s Degree in History.

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Arts + Design Mondays @ BAMPFA is organized and sponsored by UC Berkeley’s Arts + Design Initiative. In-kind support is provided by BAMPFA.

The series is co-curated by the UC Berkeley Department of Art Practice; American Indian Graduate Program; Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium; Berkeley Center for New Media; and Graduate School of Journalism, and by the City of Richmond.

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