In December, 2017 we held the inaugural gathering of a discussion group designed to open a public space for serious and challenging conversation in these troubling days: Singing in Dark Times.
Eve Ewing, Rachel DeWoskin, Kevin Coval, and Bill Ayers started us off, and over 40 people joined in to try to make sense and make meaning of our lives and our work—to shine a bright beacon of hope and possibility into the gloom.
It was an electrifying evening for those of us in attendance, but it was only a start.
On January 13, 2018 Singing in Dark Times convened again—this time Bill Ayers welcomed Lisa Lee and David Stovall in an opening dialogue, quickly broadening into a conversation embracing everyone who chose to join in.
It too proved to be a provocative and powerful evening pushing toward a question that drives so many of us: What is to be done?
The next Singing in Dark Times forum will gather on March 13, 2018, and will include Bill Ayers in conversation with the brilliant artist/activist/movement-makers Monica Trinidad and Ethan Viets-VanLear.
Please join this emerging public space, this intentional community-in-the-making.
As the public is being steadily eroded and eclipsed, and as neoliberalism persists and fascism lurks close by, the goal of those of us who believe in freedom is to take full responsibility to reimagine, revitalize, and create anew a public square, a public presence, and a wide range of participatory public spaces.
An impressive array of wildly diverse artists and grass-roots activists are on the move and on the rise—resistance is breaking out all over, and a revitalized public square is in-the-making. In Chicago, a cinema guild is running a series of films on authoritarianism followed by wide ranging teach-ins on the political environment we find ourselves in; the Co-op hosted a series of conversation led by U Chicago professors investigating contemporary issues under the banner “Free University of Chicago;” and Women and Children First’s “The Conversation” brings writers, artists, and politicians together to talk about an issue of political, social, or cultural importance. Elsewhere, a chain of restaurants in Detroit calling themselves “Sanctuary Cafes” is offering weekly facilitated conversations (as well as bail to neighbors caught up in the system); a collection of renowned playwrights has joined forces to dramatize the Bill of Rights; block clubs around the country are hosting monthly pot-luck dinners to allow folks to face one another authentically and figure out what is to be done.
The legendary Seminary Co-op/57th St. Bookstores in Hyde Park, Chicago, has always been a destination bookstore and a vital public space. Please join us as we reimagine the public square—the essential conversation continues.