RestorationART Commemorates Arrival of First Slave Ship with ‘Speak Freedom’ Artist Gathering

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by Andrea Leonhardt

The event, led by award-winning radio host Terrance McKnight, is looking for artists to share work and words of inspiration

RestorationART at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation is rallying the NYC arts community for “Speak Freedom,” an artistic gathering commemorating the arrival of the first slave ship, on Sunday, August 25.

This Sunday marks the actual day when the first slave ship, the White Lion, made the Trans-Atlantic voyage to the United States in 1619 to bring “20 and odd” people of Africa to the shores of Jamestown. Four-hundred years later, RestorationART, a community anchor for Black arts and culture, is hosting “Speak Freedom” to celebrate the power of artistic voices — as one voice — at this moment in the nation’s history.

“Since the Civil Rights Movement, Restoration Plaza has been a town square for voices of justice,” said Dr. Indira Etwarro, executive director of the Billie Holiday Theatre and RestorationART. “Like many of us, our communities and our institutions, we were forged in the kiln of movements where people reached across difference and stood together to speak up for the freedoms of all people and to speak out against injustice, ignorance and bigotry. We cannot tire in the fight for justice.”

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