Cranston High School East welcomed Mixed Magic Theatre’s Ricardo Pitts-Wiley and musician Kim Trusty to its auditorium stage on Tuesday morning for a special performance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”
Music students listened intently as Pitts-Wiley read aloud from the iconic document, while songs with Trusty – such as “This Little Light of Mine” and “Get Up, Stand Up” – were interspersed through the hour. East music program supervisor Emily Johnson said the event was funded through a Rhode Island State Council on the Arts grant called “Art Talks.” Randall Rosenbaum, the council’s executive director, was in attendance for the performance.
“The grant theme this year is civic engagement, and provides experiences for my students to further their knowledge in this area through arts integration,” Johnson said.
The duo took part in a short question-and-answer period following the reading, which featured queries ranging from whether King received a response to his letter to how people can focus on positive influences rather than negative ones.
Pitts-Wiley said people have to be responsible for their own actions, or decisions made for them often won’t be in their best interest.
“If you don't take care of your democracy, it will go away,” Pitts-Wiley said. “There’s no safety for anybody in that going away process. A person that has power now doesn’t mean that they’re going to keep it.”