San Diego City College’s Saville Theater always has events or concerts going on, but this time the event was to commemorate and remember a civil rights activist who fought for a better future of equality.
On Sept. 22, the Saville Theater presented one of the most recent productions from the La Jolla Playhouse: “Blueprints to Freedom: An Ode to Bayard Rustin.” There was also a panel to discuss “MOVEMENTS: Examining the Movements from Past and How We Active and Participate in Movements Today.”
“Blueprints to Freedom” is a co-production with the Kansas City Repertory Theatre that commemorates the life of Bayard Rustin, a man who fought against political ideas, racism, social movements and who also was well known for the non-violent civil disobedience, leading a change during the civil rights movement on the 1960s.
“Blueprints to Freedom” was performed at the La Jolla Playhouse from Sept. 23 to Oct. 4 and is now on its way to be performed in Kansas City.
The play’s lead actor Michael Benjamin Washington plays Bayard Rustin and wrote the play. Washington identifies with Rustin because he never stopped fighting for what he really wanted.
“I started with a reading disability in the fifth grade and somehow now I wrote a play that is getting two world premiere,” Washington said.
One of the reasons Washington wrote this play is “because it represents humanity that connects all of us as living breathing people who wants something great for the future generations, not just to support me but support the ones who came before so we could be free,” Washington said.
The event was directed by the moderator Jess Jollett, a communications strategist with the American Civil Liberties Union, and was supported by a panel full of talented people who shared their own stories.
“Bayard Rustin is one of the most significant figures from the civil right movement because he stood up and fought for our rights,” said Mychal Odom, a civil rights historian and Black Studies professor at City College.
Dwayne Crenshaw, the CEO of RISE San Diego and director of the San Diego Black LGBT Coalition, identifies himself with Rustin not just for their sexual preferences, but for the similarities between the modern civil rights movement and the current gay rights movement.
“I’m black and gay and I’m proud of it,” Crenshaw said.
“We are all crazy because we were raised by crazy people,” said Dr. Maria Senour, a board member from the City College Board of Trustees while explaining why there is so much racism, stereotypes and discrimination not just for African-Americans, but for everyone who thinks different and have different preferences.
Just like Maria Morales felt about those stereotypes. Morales is a student and chair of Pillars of the Community Scholars Society.
“As a women and being a single mother of five kids, being a recovered drug addict, and having a gay father brought a lot of stereotypes on me,” Morales said.
Aaron Harvey, a Community Activist and co founder of ‘Justice 4SD33’, who joined the movement because he got tired of discrimination against himself and everyone around him said “we need to have solidarity among each others if we want to change the world.”
“Love is always the answer,” Senour said.