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New London residents of color are onstage sharing stories of racial justice

New London residents workshopping for Voices Across Generations.jpg
Brian Scott-Smith
New London residents workshopping for Voices Across Generations

New London residents of color are sharing their stories of racial justice past and present onstage at Connecticut College on Saturday. Twenty participants between the ages of 16 and 80 have been interviewing each other about personal stories about their race.

Kayla Marie Mateo, 19, who is a Dr. Martin Luther King scholar, said participating has exposed her to 60 years of challenges that still resonate today.

“Just hearing legacies in this room daily at Connecticut College, I get to just be an advocate and be a witness to what Dr King did and installed in society and what he installed in the communities of New London, and what he installed in communities in Birmingham, what he installed in communities in New York and truly all over the world,” Mateo said. “Because he truly revolutionized how we speak and how we interact with each other today.”

“Voices Across Generations: Race and New London,” is on Saturday, July 16 at 4 p.m. at the Cro’s Nest at Connecticut College. The performance will include poetry and powerful stories from both young and old.

It’s in collaboration with the New York City-based theater company Houses on the Moon.

“To hear someone say years ago they were the only person of color in a classroom and felt uncomfortable or discriminated against and then for someone to tell a story that took place 60 years later and tell the exact same story is exactly why something like this needs to be done,” said Miles Grose, with the theater company.

An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.