9mm America - Gun Control Advocates Should See This Powerful Show
Huffington Post Review --
As a gun reform advocate and theatre practitioner, I was excited to attend a performance of 9mm America, a play running now in New York City that sheds light on America's gun culture. Written by Girl Be Heard, a group of young women between the ages of 14-23, the play is unique in its perspective. Many of the girls in the cast come from neighborhoods where gun violence is prevalent and some of them are survivors of gun violence, having lost family members to gunfire. It is clear that their experience with tragedy has empowered them with a sense of responsibility to change something wrong with this country. And what is wrong, they tell us, is that "Gun violence is an addiction and America, you're an addict..."
The actors take us through the violent history of guns in America from the genocide of Native Americans, through slavery and the civil war, to the sensationalism of guns through our media coverage -- a destructive influence that has led to a growing sense of paranoia and the belief that a gun is needed to keep us safe from "all those other people who don't look like me." It is this paranoia and fear of "other" that perpetuates the vicious cycle of violence in the neighborhoods these young women call home. In their view, police assume every person of color they see is up to no good, and those same people of color assume the protection of the law does not apply to them. Having worked in prison, I've seen the consequences of this unfortunate dynamic. Young black and Hispanic men have taken the law into their own hands and ended up in jail, all because they didn't feel there was anyone else who would help them.