When: 8:00 PM Wednesday, March 22,
Where: Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive, New York, New York
Available for media contact: Ann Petter: 212.246.7528, Tom Wallace: 617.461.1041
Hosted by: Amy Goodman and James Zogby
Participants include: Cindy & Craig Corrie, Anthony Arnove, Huwaida Arraf, Brian Avery, Nirit Ben-Ari, Leila Buck, Kia Corthron, Sherif Fam, Suheir Hammad, Leonard Hubbard (from The Roots) with A. Marcy Francis (Vocalist), Brian Jones, Liz Magnes, Malachy McCourt, Betty Shamieh, Jonathan Tasini, Zafer Tawil, Tom Wallace, Ora Wise, and Maysoon Zayid
Participating by video: Maya Angelou, Patti Smith, Eve Ensler, Mariam Said, Najla Said
On March 22, New York City will hear the words of Rachel Corrie at the Riverside Church in Manhattan. Rejecting efforts to silence Rachel’s voice, a growing list of performers, writers, academics and activists will read selected writings from Rachel Corrie, and honor her through poems and songs. They will discuss the context in which her words were written, and the pervasive climate of fear in which they have been suppressed.
Rachel was a human rights activist and gifted writer. She was crushed to death by an Israeli Army bulldozer as she tried to protect the home of a Palestinian pharmacist from demolition in Rafah, Gaza Strip, on March 16th, 2003. Rachel was 23.
“My Name is Rachel Corrie” is a powerful one-woman show based entirely on the writings of Rachel Corrie. The play was scheduled to open at the New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW) on March 22nd. The NYTW postponed the play indefinitely sparking an escalating controversy. James Nicola, the Director of the NYTW, told the New York Times that he needed time to “contextualize the play”. The play, edited by Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner from Rachel’s diaries and emails, was produced by the Royal Court Theatre in London. Starring Megan Dodds, it played to sold out audiences and wide acclaim.
In an extraordinary grassroots response to this controversy, Rachel’s Words was launched by a handful of activists from a NYC apartment. In two weeks the organization has coordinated a worldwide response to ensure that Rachel’s words will be heard. On March 16th, the 3rd Anniversary of Rachel’s killing, her words were read at events in 13 countries, including ten locations in Palestine and Israel, and over 40 locations in the United States.
Vanessa Redgrave “contextualized” just what the postponement meant in an interview with Democracy Now: “Rachel’s voice was silenced by an IDF bulldozer. In the play Rachel makes a speech as a ten year old about world poverty, and her belief that the world could end poverty. The New York Theater Workshop silenced that little girl too, who is speaking for people all over the world.”
For updated information visit www.RachelsWords.org
Maya Angelou: acclaimed poet, historian, author, and civil rights activist.
Anthony Arnove: editor, with Howard Zinn, of Voices of a People’s History of the United States.
Huwaida Arraf, co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).
Brian Avery: environmental and Human Rights Activist. In 2003 he volunteered with the ISM in the West Bank city of Jenin and was shot in the face by the Israeli army during an attack on a group of volunteers.
Nirit Ben-Ari: Israeli citizen and former soldier in the Israeli military radio station. She worked for the United Nations Department of Public Information, Africa section.
Leila Buck: founding member of Mixed Company, a bi-cultural theater collective.
Kathleen Chalfant: Tony nominated actress.
Kia Corthron: award-winning playwright.
Eve Ensler: performer, activist and award-winning author of The Vagina Monologues.
Sherif Fam: Host of This Week In Palestine, WZBC radio, Boston.
Amy Goodman: host of Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now! program.
Suheir Hammad: poet, who has appeared in award winning anthologies, and in zines stapled together by queer youth collectives.
Leonard “Hub” Hubbard: band member of grammy award winning The Roots.
Brian Jones: has toured across the country as Marx in Howard Zinn’s one-man play Marx in Soho since 1999.
Liz Magnes: celebrated Israeli jazz pianist.
Malachy McCourt: actor, author and writer. He has performed on Broadway and off-Broadway.
Mariam Said: widow of the late Edward Said.
Najla Said: a founding member and the current artistic director of Nibras, the Arab-American theatre collective.
Betty Shamieh: Palestinian-American writer and actor. Her play “Roar” was the first play about Palestinians to appear off-Broadway, and was selected as a New York Times Critic’s Pick for four consecutive weeks.
Patti Smith: American musician, singer, and poet.
Jonathan Tasini: New York Democratic candidate for the United States Senate.
Zafer Tawil: New York based oud player born in Jerusalem.
Tom Wallace, American peace activist and media coordinator for the ISM at a crucial time following the killing of Rachel Corrie and the shootings of Tom Hurndall and Brian Avery.
Ora Wise: American Jewish peace activist born in Jerusalem.
Maysoon Zayid: is an actress and professional stand-up comedian.
Howard Zinn: historian, playwright, and social activist.
Dr. James J. Zogby: founder and president of the Arab American Institute (AAI).