Published : Tuesday, August 13, 2019 | 6:44 AM
A play based on the life of civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer could change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
Civic engagement is the mission behind the presentation of “The Fannie Lou Hamer Story, A One-Woman Play” by acclaimed playwright, director and actor Mzuri Moyo Aimbaye.
The play will be presented by the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance (IMA) and Pasadena National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) at the First AME Church in Pasadena on Sunday, Aug. 18.
The work is presented by the groups with the hope is that the inspiring story will get people out to vote, and to become more engaged in civic activities.
“I saw the play 16 years ago and it is very powerful,” said Allen Edson, NAACP Pasadena Branch President. “It’s been updated since I saw it to bring in contemporary issues. I thought it would be a great idea to show the play here in Pasadena. The motivation for us to partner with AME is to show a united front when it comes to the 2020 election so that’s satisfying my goal for civic engagement.”
But the story of Hamer’s activism is one that many people don’t know. Hamer suffered more than many civil rights activists for her goal, which was to help enable voting rights for African Americans. But during the 1960s in the south, the idea of black people voting was still unheard of and was not accepted.
Aimbaye said it’s Hamer’s quality of resilience that attracted her to the story.
“The play started out as a little skeleton of a show, but my mother told me ‘It’s really, really good,’ and that encouraged me to go on,” Aimbaye said.
A creative triple-threat, Aimbaye said the play has taken up much of her life in part because she is always adding and rewriting.
“My work is so significant and as we go along I’m doing rewrites and rewrites,” she said. “The play is directly connected to voting.”
Aimbaye said the play is her life’s work and intended to keep people apprised of stories the network news ignores.
“It’s really got so much in there, I’m not kidding you,” she said. “When people come to see this play they should bring their notebook. Everything in there is factual.”
The show is interactive as well.
“It’s a very immersive show,” she said. “I don’t know if they’re setting up tables to register people to vote, but traditionally that’s what people can do after the play. And we’re available to come to colleges and churches. There will be laughter and there will be tears. It’ll be a full ride for the audience.”
Edson added that there are other actions people can take to get involved.
“You can pick anything you’re interested in, say art,” Edson said. “You can follow the art commission. People want to complain, but to get your voice heard, you have to participate. Fannie Lou Hamer should be someone who is part of history class. Just to hear her story and what she did at the 1964 Democratic Convention is something everyone should know about. “
The Fannie Lou Hamer Story (A One Woman Play) A National Voter’s Education Empowerment Story will be presented Sunday, August 18, 2019 at 4:00 p.m.at First A.M.E. Church, Pasadena
Tickets cost $25.00 and may be purchased here.