Showing posts with label racial disparities in health care. Show all posts
Showing posts with label racial disparities in health care. Show all posts

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Congo Square Theatre Hosts 'Celebration of Healing' - Free Community Events Exploring Healthcare Inequality

Congo Square Theatre Company hosts Celebration of Healing programming in conjunction with 

World Premiere of How Blood Go

The Chi’s Yolonda Ross hosts FREE expert-led community events that raise awareness of racial disparities in health care.

Congo Square Theatre Company (Congo Square) proudly announces the latest iteration of its Celebration of Healing programming initiative, to be held in conjunction with the World Premiere of How Blood Go by Cleveland-based playwright Lisa Langford, presented at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theater (1700 N. Halsted Street) as part of Steppenwolf’s LookOut Series March 11 - April 23, 2023. How Blood Go analyzes the past, present, and future of racial inequality in America’s healthcare system; the Celebration of Healing programming, will examine the real-world implications of the biases articulated in the play.

Founded during Congo Square’s production of What to Send Up When It Goes Down in Fall 2022, Celebration of Healing is an initiative that collaborates with Congo Square’s annual productions to provide audiences with a curated space geared toward individual and community healing. The Celebration of Healing is one of five artist projects commissioned by the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events for We Will Chicago – the first citywide plan since 1966. We Will is the first-ever plan to be rooted in equity and resiliency and to be drafted by residents and community leaders. The Celebration of Healing connects to the goals residents shared addressing systemic inequities in public health, and exemplifies how artists and cultural organizations bring attention and resources to the issues most important to Chicago communities.

These free in-person and digital events will take place during the run of How Blood Go and include film screenings, panel discussions and community conversations led by experts in the field. All Celebration of Healing events are free and open to the public, registration is required for all events. For in-person events, attendees without access to transportation can arrange to have free transport to the events through the registration link. To register for a Celebration of Healing event, visit

Celebration of Healing Events:

In-person Film Screenings + Community Conversations


Power to Heal

Date: March 29, 6:00 PM

Location: Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington St., Claudia Cassidy Theater

Host: Yolonda Ross (The Chi & How Blood Go Cast)

Facilitator: Jhmira Alexander, MPH (Executive Director, Public Narrative)

Panelists: Barbara Berney, PhD (Producer, Power to Heal), Paris Thomas, MS, MCHES, PhD (Executive Director, Equal Hope at RUSH Medical University), Margie Schaps, MPH (Executive Director, Health and Medicine Policy)

Power to Heal is an hour-long public television documentary that tells a poignant chapter in the historic struggle to secure equal and adequate access to healthcare for all Americans. Central to the story is the tale of how a new national program, Medicare, was used to mount a dramatic, coordinated effort that desegregated thousands of hospitals across the country in a matter of months.

The Healthcare Divide

Date: April 5, 2023, 6:00 PM

Location: Equal Hope, 300 S Ashland Ave #202

Host: Yolonda Ross (The Chi & How Blood Go Cast)

Facilitator: Jhmira Alexander, MPH (Executive Director, Public Narrative)

Panelists: Laura Sullivan (Correspondent, NPR Investigates), Sista Yaa Simpson (Community Epidemiologist and Bioethicist, TACTS-The Association of Clinical Trials Services), Paris Thomas, MS, MCHES, PhD (Executive Director, Equal Hope) 

FRONTLINE and NPR investigate the growing inequities in American healthcare exposed by COVID-19. The Healthcare Divide examines how pressure to increase profits and uneven government support are widening the divide between rich and poor hospitals, endangering care for low-income populations.


Date: April 12, 6:00 PM

Location: TBD

Host: Yolonda Ross (The Chi & How Blood Go Cast)

Facilitator: Jhmira Alexander, MPH (Executive Director, Public Narrative)

Panelists: Anya Tanyavutti (Executive Director, Changing Worlds), Lakeesha Harris (Executive Director, Chicago Volunteer Doulas), Kalynn Dunn, MA, LPC (Assistant Executive Director, Caris Pregnancy Counseling and Resources), Jeanine Valrie Logan (Midwife & Lead Steward, Chicago Southside Birth Center)

Aftershock––Following the preventable deaths of their loved ones due to childbirth complications, two families galvanize activists, birth-workers and physicians to reckon with one of the most pressing American crises of our time – the US maternal health crisis.


Virtual Webinars

From March 23 – April 27, every Thursday at 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM, Public Narrative will present a webinar series dedicated to holistic public health conversations that generate solutions to improve health systems in Chicago. In this 6-part webinar training series journalists, researchers, care givers, patients and other community members will explore findings of Chicago-based community engaged research studies for communities experiencing health disparities and other implications to public health. To register for the webinar series, visit

Talk Forwards

In addition to these public events, audience members attending Sunday matinee performances of How Blood Go on March 26, April 2, and April 9 can participate in Talk Forward discussions with artists and community members immediately following the performance.



Celebration of Healing events are made possible through partnerships with DCASE, DPD, We Will Chicago, Public Narrative, Equal Hope at RUSH Medical Center, and the Center for Health Equity Transformation at Northwestern Medicine. How Blood Go and the Celebration of Healing are partially funded by The Celebration of Healing are partially funded by the Venturous Theatre Fund of the Tides Foundation. Additional funding for the webinar series comes from the MacArthur Foundation and Northwestern Medicine.


About How Blood Go

How Blood Go weaves the present and past together to explore the strained relationship between the healthcare system and African Americans in this country. Just when Quinntasia is ready to take her wellness program, Quinntessentials, to market, she learns that her healthy body is not the product of her hard work, but of a futuristic experimental device—activated without her consent—that makes her appear White to doctors and nurses. She must decide if she’s willing to give up her Blackness to make her dream come true. Meanwhile, Bean and his brother, Ace, experience unethical medical treatment in the American South (the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment 1930-1970). Under the direction of Tiffany Fulson, the How Blood Go cast features Congo Square Ensemble Member Ronald L. Conner (Ace) and The Chi star Yolonda Ross (Didi). I'll be out for the press opening March 19th, so check back soon for my full review.

How Blood Go will be performed March 11 - April 23. Tickets, priced at $25 for preview performances and $35 for all other performances ($20 for seniors and students), are now on sale by calling 312-335-1650 or visiting

Congo Square continues its radical generosity model partnering with community organizations throughout the city to donate up to half of all tickets for every performance. To learn more about discounted community partner tickets, please email


About the organizations

Congo Square Theatre Company is an ensemble dedicated to producing transformative work rooted in the African Diaspora. Congo Square is a haven for artists of color to challenge and redefine the theatrical canon by amplifying and creating stories that reflect the reach and complexities of Black Culture.

Public Narrative is a Chicago-based nonprofit that facilitates training, programming and resource building focused on cultivating media literacy, uplifting community voices in media, and shifting narratives around public health, public safety, and public education.

LookOut is Steppenwolf’s performance series that presents the work of artists and companies across genre and form, emerging artists and performance legends, quintessential Chicago companies and young aspiring ensembles, familiar Steppenwolf faces and new friends.

We Will Chicago is Chicago’s first citywide plan since 1966. The plan is a strong, community-driven, and data-informed 10-year vision for Chicago that is rooted in the principles of equity and resiliency. Drafted by hundreds of residents, community based organizations, and city staff, the plan was adopted unanimously by the Chicago Plan Commission in February 2023. “We Will Chicago” consists of more than 40 goals and 150 objectives to guide the City’s governance across eight “planning pillars” for the next decade. The pillars include Arts & Culture; Environment, Climate & Energy; Housing & Neighborhoods; Lifelong Learning; Public Health & Safety; Transportation & Infrastructure; Civic & Community Engagement; and Economic Development. To learn more and read the plan, visit

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