The Stan Greenspon Center celebrated its second anniversary with a staged reading of Protective Custody Prisoner 34042 – the compelling story of our Charlotte cherished Holocaust survivor and scholar, Dr. Susan Cernyak-Spatz.
The narrator had us imagine the backdrop of a clothes rack. Susan’s continually changing clothes reflected the changing realities of her youth – from her early teenage years in Berlin to Prague to Theresienstadt to Auschwitz to the death marches to liberation. The play reflected a subtle and slow stripping of identity. Beautiful clothes were replaced by prisoner garb. The play’s riveting narrrative moved us through her senses surrounding the journey from the depths of Birkenau and back to today: from tattoos to being surrounded by death to survival to rebuilding, retelling and remembering. The play captured Susan’s voice calling us to teach and transmit the lessons of the Holocaust to the world today as it tied in the recent events of Charlottesville and Pittsburgh and the dangerous rhetoric that has led to so many acts of hate.
We could not imagine a more powerful and perfect way to mark our Stan Greenspon Center’s second anniversary celebration.
As an organization, we have turned two years old. In human terms, two year olds are finding themselves and as they do they are known to say the word “No.”
As a two year old organization we are saying “No!” loudly and adamantly.
We are saying “No!” to hate – to racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia. We are saying “No!” to hate in any form it comes.
But more than that, we are here to educate to ensure that our students learn to say “No!” to hate as well. In the two years that have flown by we have engaged 300 teachers in professional development, thousands of students in Holocaust, human rights and social justice education, and have engaged with 30 regional schools. The calls keep coming for us to support regional educators and schools and we are answering them.
And we are here to advocate to create a just and inclusive society. Our social justice successes are too great to recount them all right now.
Congratulations to Three Bone Theatre for a production that was well-done; to playwright Charles LaBorde for a phenomenal script; to Director Dennis Delamar who create a riveting show; and to actresses Nicia Carla, who played Susan, and Paula Baldwin, who played the dresser and other characters. Their standing ovation was well-earned.
Our gratitude extends to Pinnacle Financial Partners, Jewish Family Service, North Carolina Council on the Holocaust, Stan Greenspon and to beloved local survivors.
Join us to share the message of Dr. Cernyak-Spatz’s play and life by speaking out and standing up against hate to create a world where the dignity and humanity of all are affirmed.