Breaking Barriers

Playback Memphis is part of the reason I chose to move from Chicago to pursue my doctorate in clinical psychology aplayback-010t the University of Memphis. Over a year and a half ago, Dr. Bob Neimeyer told me about a project I could work on if I chose to come to Memphis. He described a truly remarkable vision – a collaborative, community-driven, creative, transformational project that immediately captured my attention and my heart!

A partnership between Playback Memphis, The University of Memphis, the Memphis Police Department and Lifeline to Success, a Frayser organization that helps ex-offenders reintegrate into their community, Performing the Peace developed out of the MPD’s concern regarding a lack of trust and positive communication between law enforcement and young people in struggling communities. Recent events in Ferguson, MO — and even more recently in Frayser itself — are clear expressions of the hunger communities have to be seen, heard, respected, and healed. There are many barriers to positive relations between ostracized groups, such as police and ex-offenders. Performing the Peace will ideally become a model that other communities can adopt to bring diverse people together in a context of safety and trust — and with hope that things can truly be different. I am humbled and privileged to be a part of this team, knowing that the power and influence of each individual partner is infinitely magnified by the collaboration.

-Melissa Smigelsky

Tennessee Arts Commission
Arts Memphis

Playback Memphis is proud to be supported by Arts Memphis, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the First Tennessee Foundation, the Plough Foundation, the Thomas W. Briggs Foundation, and the Assisi Foundation of Memphis
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