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 ArtsMemphis and the Tennessee Arts Commission.
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