RACE RELAY® initially began in 2005 with a group of friends talking in a living room. Colleen, Fred, and Denise invited people of various ethnicities to come, sit in a circle, and share a moment in their past when race made a difference. Over the course of three afternoons, we heard stories from folks of Latino, white, black, Asian, and mixed ethnic backgrounds. The relayed racial incidents were often sad, sometimes amusing or astonishing; always insightful and compelling. Our intention was to draw upon these instances to create a theatre piece; one that would use the healing aspects of story sharing to address racial issues.
From these stories, monologues were molded, and skits were crafted into a half-hour presentation. In 2007 this early version of RACE RELAY® was presented at the Tinlark Gallery in Hollywood, CA with five actors and a percussionist. The audience was small but enthusiastic. Their response: give us more, and build more opportunities within the presentation for us to share our stories as well.
Over the next two years, a script emerged, incorporating video clips from broadcast news and television events that expose the problems of race in our society. We included quotes from other media: books, magazines, the internet, in an attempt to demonstrate the multitude of racial messages, insidious and otherwise, that bombard us in our daily lives. Finally, in 2011 we presented an extensive version of RACE RELAY® in the West Athens community with the City of Los Angeles Human Relations Commission. The result was a confirmation that this was an appropriate and accessible way to assist communities in addressing racial issues.
Since then we have developed site-specific productions at the Mayme Clayton Library and Museum of Culver City with Common Peace Center for the Advancement of Nonviolence, SIPA (Search to Involve Pilipino Americans), the University of Southern California (USC) in collaboration with the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, and the Santa Monica Public Library. Presently we are developing a RACE RELAY® production with the New York Film Academy (NYFA) and the Burbank Human Relations Council (BHRC).