Kansas City
Racial Healing and Reconciliation

There Are Black People In The Future © Taylor Hazley

How does (non-) remembrance take place in public space? What does a place of (non-) remembrance look like? How can narratives from the past be (re)shaped and transported into the future?

At the Goethe Pop Up Kansas City, together with our local partners, we examined these questions with Shaping the Past fellows Alisha B. Wormsley (There are Black People in the Future) and Patrick Weems (Racial Reconciliation begins by telling the Truth).

Our projects and events centered around the concepts of ‘Racial Healing’ and ‘Reconciliation’ which are used by both Wormsley and Weems to help shape public discourse on memory culture through activism and artistic expression. 

There Are Black People in the Future: Exhibition & Artist Talk

After the unveiling of Alisha B. Wormsley There are Black People in the Future billboard in downtown Kansas City, Goethe Pop Up invited nine local BIPOC artists to respond to this statement. Their contributions were presented as an exhibition-on-glass on the Pop Up’s window front.

  • Archer and Patterson Artwork © EG Schempf

    Archer and Patterson Artwork © EG Schempf

  • Die Fensterfront des Goethe Pop Up Kansas City als gläserne Ausstellungsfläche: There Are Black People in the Future Foto: EG Schempf

  • Mona Cliff’s Artwork © EG Schempf

    Mona Cliff’s Artwork © EG Schempf

  • Die Fensterfront des Goethe Pop Up Kansas City als gläserne Ausstellungsfläche: There Are Black People in the Future Foto: EG Schempf

  • Arianna Bonner’s Artwork © EG Schempf

    Arianna Bonner’s Artwork © EG Schempf

  • Die Fensterfront des Goethe Pop Up Kansas City als gläserne Ausstellungsfläche: There Are Black People in the Future Foto: EG Schempf

  • Ayala’s Artwork © EG Schempf

    Ayala’s Artwork © EG Schempf

  • Die Fensterfront des Goethe Pop Up Kansas City als gläserne Ausstellungsfläche: There Are Black People in the Future Foto: EG Schempf

  • José Faus’ Artwork © EG Schempf

    José Faus’ Artwork © EG Schempf

  • Die Fensterfront des Goethe Pop Up Kansas City als gläserne Ausstellungsfläche: There Are Black People in the Future Foto: EG Schempf

  • Harold Smith’s Artwork © EG Schempf

    Harold Smith’s Artwork © EG Schempf

  • Die Fensterfront des Goethe Pop Up Kansas City als gläserne Ausstellungsfläche: There Are Black People in the Future Foto: EG Schempf

  • Archer and Patterson Artwork © EG Schempf

    Archer and Patterson Artwork © EG Schempf

In an artist talk, Wormsley and the contributing artists discussed the Kansas City iteration of There Are Black People in the Future and their visions of how to imagine Black futures. The talk was moderated by Kreshaun McKinney from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
The contributing artists: Mona Cliff, multidisciplinary indigenous artist from Lawrence, Kansas City; Glyneisha Johnson, multidisciplinary artist, educator, community organizer, and co-founder of Strange Fruit Femmes; Sheri Purpose Hall, spoken-word and literary artist, CEO of Poetry for Personal Power; Izsys Archer, photographer, video, mixed media artist, and poet; Jada Patterson, mixed media and ceramic artist, project curator; José Faus, visual artist, performer, and writer; Ari Bonner, visual artist and image maker; Jessica Ayala, multi-discipline, indigenous Colombian American spoken-word artist; Harold Smith, visual artist and teacher. 

Memory Culture in Film: Commemorating Emmett Till

How can history be shaped through film, and how can film serve as a medium of activism? Following the screening of the documentary The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till, the Goethe Pop Up Kansas City invited the film’s director, Keith Beauchamp, together with Shaping the Past-Fellow and Executive Director of the Emmett Till Interpretive Center, Patrick Weems, for a discussion about “Memory Culture in Film: Remembering. Emmett Till.“

Approaching Reconciliation, or the Discomfort of Remembrance

What can Germans and Americans learn from each other when it comes to facing and (re-)shaping the past? Joining this discussion from both sides of the Atlantic are four highly acclaimed memory workers: Berlin-based American philosopher Susan Neiman, author of Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil; artist Glenn North, Co-Liaison of the Community Remembrance Project Missouri in Kansas City; Shaping the Past Fellow Patrick Weems, Executive Director of the Emmett Till Interpretive Center; and Dave Tell, Co-Director of the Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Kansas.

Featured Artists

Alisha B. Wormsley © Alisha B. Wormsley
Alisha B. Wormsley is an interdisciplinary artist and cultural producer based in Pittsburgh, PA. Her work focuses on collective memory and the synchronicity of time, specifically through the stories of women of color.

Patrick Weems
Patrick Weems is a community builder, social entrepreneur, and philanthropy leader based in Sumner, MS. With more than 10 years of experience in racial justice and restorative justice work, Weems is leading transformational change that will last through the generations.

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