NEW YORK CITY: The civic-minded theatre company Waterwell has announced a national series called The Flores Exhibits: Conversations Around the Country, aimed at creating meaningful conversations about immigration. The Flores Exhibits is a collection of videos featuring artists, lawyers, advocates, and immigrants reading the testimonies of children held in detention facilities at the U.S. border. This fall, Waterwell is partnering with organizations across the country to present a series of virtual events to spark conversations about U.S. immigration policy. All videos are currently available online.
The Flores Exhibits was originally conceived by artistic director Lee Sunday Evans and co-created by Waterwell and the Broadway Advocacy Coalition in collaboration with the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic and the Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia Law School. The testimonies for the project were gathered in June 2019 by a team of lawyers who visited detention facilities as monitors for the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement, which limits the length of time and conditions under which children can be held in immigration detention. In response to discovering the severely detrimental conditions in detention centers, members of that team reached out to artists, journalists, and community leaders to share the stories of those affected and advocate for protections for children in government care.
The videos in The Flores Exhibits feature Elizabeth Rodriguez, Sakina Jaffrey, Kathleen Chalfant, David Schwimmer, Malina Weisman, Arian Moayed, Bitta Mostofi, Jeffrey S. Chase, David Henry Hwang, and Luis Mancheno reading exactly what is presented in a child’s sworn testimony.
Conversations are scheduled to take place at the ACLU of Pennsylvania (Sept. 30); La Conexion in Bowling Green, Ohio (Sept. 30); Freedom House in Detroit (Oct. 6); Drexel University Law School in Philadelphia (Oct. 6); Marquette Law School in Milwaukee (Oct. 7); University of Detroit, Mercy (Oct. 8); Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center in Cincinnati (Oct. 13); University of Wisconsin Law School in Madison, Wisc. (Oct. 15); and Christian Reformed Church, Social Justice Office in Grand Rapids, Mich. (Oct. 27). The first two conversations at Bibles, Badges, and Business Conference in Canton, Ohio, and University of Wisconsin were held on Sept. 24.
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