'Every 28 Hours' school play in Oakland creating performance piece based on the Black experience

Kumasi Aaron Image
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
'Every 28 Hours' in Oakland creating performance on Black experience
A visual and performing arts charter school in Oakland is creating a performance piece based on the Black experience.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- A visual and performing arts charter school in Oakland is creating a performance piece based on the Black experience.

The play is called "Every 28 Hours" and the idea comes from feelings amid challenging times during the COVID-19 pandemic and returning to in-person learning. And for students, especially Black students, feeling unheard and unseen, according to Tavia Percia, co-chair at Oakland School for the Arts.

"I think that after coming back from COVID that was the first full year back from COVID. And I think you know, these kids have to sit and watch George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery be murdered and they couldn't go outside. They couldn't do anything. They couldn't say how they feel, they felt really restricted," she said.

"And so when they got back to school, I think that because there wasn't much talk about it, it kind of felt like they were not being, they weren't able to really express themselves in the way they felt about it, and the ways that they felt like they wanted to," Percia said.

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She said the idea of "Every 28 Hours" coming to life at Oakland School for the Arts started with conversations with her students.

"They would come and just express how they felt and just like how whitewashed everything felt, not just that OSA again, but just in the world. And so we would talk and I'm like, 'What do you want to do about what how can I help you?,' she said.

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"Then one of my students wrote a poem, and it kind of just sparked in me a project that I had worked on before with other students called "Every 28 Hours."

Percia said the name came from the 2015 statistic that every 28 hours, a Black person is killed in the U.S.

"You know, for us, that is not only a thing that happens in with white folks, we die in our own communities. It's just it, in my opinion, an extermination of Black lives, right now. And I think that these kids being able to talk, a lot of them have lost people to gun violence and just, you know, some of them from the police officers. And so, for them, this has been a very healing process."

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Percia said she and her students just started writing and rehearsing.

"Then it just turned into this full blown project of amazingness. And, yeah, it's incredible."

You can watch ABC7 News anchor Kumasi Aaron's full interview with Tavia Percia about their new performance "Every 28 Hours" in the video player above.

To learn more about the school and to purchase tickets to "Every 28 Hours," click here.

You can check out our other Black History Month stories here.

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