Hamilton Dramaturgy's TheatreNow!

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Program

TheatreNow! guests Yvette Heyliger and Yvonne Farrow continue their involvement in groundbreaking grassroots theatre and community programs. Here is a recent press release from their creation, the National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Program

Awareness & Prevention through “Edutainment”

A Free Community Event!

LOS ANGELES, CA – Friday, February 10, 2012

In the spirit of Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), four important community organizations have joined efforts to mark National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: Twinbiz, I Choose Life, the African American Cultural Center and the Senut Sisterhood.The program is a free event that will take place at the African American Cultural Center, 3018 West 48thStreet, Los Angeles, CA 90043, Friday February 10, 2012 at 7:00PM. This Ujima Event is not just for those who may be afflicted with the virus. It is for anyone who wants to live a pro-active, health-conscious life. The program offers to the community HIV awareness and prevention through the power of “edutainment”.

The NBH/A Awareness Day program will begin at 6:30PM with a Community Reception hosted by the Senut Sisterhood whose Chair, Chimbuko Tembo, will serve as Mistress of Ceremonies. The Senut Sisterhood is dedicated to social service and social action focusing on providing programs to support young girls and women of the African American community.

At 7:00PM the program will begin with a Reading of Excerpts from Yvette Heyliger’s “What Would Jesus Do?” winner of multiple AUDELCO Recognition Awards for Excellence in Black Theatre. A tragic, yet humorous play about family, church, sex and HIV. The cast includes Debi Anderson, Adilah Barnes, Lynne Conner, Yvonne Farrow, Danielle Green, Andre Henry, Stevie Mack, Iona Morris, Michael A. Shepperd, John Wesley and Emily Yancy, live music by Larry Farrow.

This year’s play reading is in honor the Second Annual National Black HIV/AIDS Theater Initiative: Produce A Play/Save A Life! Its purpose is to inspire and enlist playwrights, producers, actors, presenting organizations and churches to write, read or produce at least one play a season in Black theatres, churches, youth and senior centers, high schools, colleges, prisons and living rooms across America until this preventable disease, where Blacks continue to account for more than half the nation’s new infection rates, is eradicated.  In 2011 the NBH/A Theatre Initiative kicked off with a Resolution from the City of Los Angeles.  Of this theater ministry Yvonne Farrow of Twinbiz states, “If we don’t deal with this epidemic today, there may not be anyone around to celebrate Black History Month tomorrow.”

Furthering the idea that theatre can be used to illumine critical issues in the community through edutainment, Tony Wafford, President/CEO, I Choose Life Health and Wellness Center, will present a Response & Update with special guest speaker Jo Valentine, MSW, Associate Director for Health Equity, Division of STD Prevention, NCHHSTP, who will respond to the material presented, as well as give updates on the current status of HIV/AIDS, prevention and treatment. Support materials with further information and testing will be provided.

Rounding out the program, Dr. Maulana Karenga, Executive Director, African American Cultural Center (Us), and Creator of Kwanzaa and the Nguzo Saba (from which the third principle, Ujima comes), will give a framework in which to best understand, appreciate and utilize all of the material that has been presented through open dialogue entitled, Conversation in Community, and bring to realization the year round practice of Ujima, Collective Work and Responsibility, “to build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together.”  Also serving on the Q&A panel are Valentine, Wafford, Tembo and Farrow. For more information, or to get directions to the African American Cultural Center call 323.299.6124.