We the 100 Million
In Spring 2019, PolicyLink launched “We, the 100 Million,” an equity research project (supported with data from the National Equity Atlas), and national tour that highlighted the 100 million people across the country — nearly a third of the nation — living below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. PolicyLink believes that integrating arts and cultural strategies across our work is essential to unlocking the power and imagination of communities to forge their own paths to justice and liberation.
In lifting up the lives, hopes, and aspirations of these individuals, we collaborated with celebrated poet, educator, actor, playwright, and activist A Scribe Called Quess? to work with PolicyLink teams and communities across the country to incorporate art, story circles, poetry workshops, and Theater of the Oppressed techniques as a platform to tell the stories of people impacted by racial and economic inequities in this country.
Born from an intentional creative and cultural process, we're excited to announce "Many Fires This Time: We the 100 Million, the debut of a feature film which blends spoken word poetry with documentary. (Join the FREE event on Saturday, April 24 at 2pm PT / 5 pm ET, RSVP HERE ).
As a poetic docudrama, the “We, the 100 Million” film documents the journey of A Scribe Called Quess? as he connects with fellow activist poets and the communities they represent. From Oakland to Chicago to Kentucky to New Orleans, the film, directed by Jason R.A. Foster, features a broad array of captivating poetry performances from Tongo Eisen-Martin, Kendria “K-Love” Harris, Misty Skaggs, Diana Cervera, Marvin White, and Quess?; not to mention a dynamic score by musician free feral and transformative movement from choreographer Jeremy Guyton. We hope that this film serves as a catalyst for policy change and can ensure that all people, especially people of color, can be economically secure, live in healthy communities of opportunity, and benefit from a just society.
As part of National Poetry Month, the screening will be paired with thoughtful conversation and a presentation from featured artists as well as a DJ dance party.
This film was created with funding from a Hewlett Foundation 50 Arts Commission and funding from The Kresge Foundation.