“It wasn’t until years and years later that I realized things were getting better for me, but they weren’t getting better for the people who were out there looting the store,” he said.
Hall said recent clashes between police and protesters reminded him of the Detroit riot.
“The first reaction I had to Ferguson was how much it reminded me of Detroit, in terms of police and community relations,” he said.
Andre Pettigrew, a Durham resident who attended the play and conversation, grew up on 12th Street in Detroit. He moved to south central Los Angeles when he was 13 in 1966, less than a year before the riot broke out.
He said he still identifies as being from Detroit, a city he sees representative of economic opportunity despite industrial decline.
“It was interesting for my family to watch the rollout of the riots in a neighborhood that we were familiar with and we had grown up in,” he said. “I literally remember being able to read News Week and Time Magazine and see store fronts from my neighborhood, and people I knew jumping out of windows while watching the news.”
Psychology major Ariana Rivens said self-care is important to keep in mind when being an activist.
“It is really painful to consume black death, black pain, black struggle and simultaneously balance the fact that you want to be informed, you want to be engaged with what’s happening,” Rivens said.
Ruthie Allen, a public policy major, said she was struck by how journalist Phillip Meyer benefited from the Detroit riot, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize.
“Communities of color and people rioting barely, if ever, benefit from those riots,” she said. “A lot of the time, it’s generations after them (who benefit)…It just made me think about the protests and current events in a different way. Like, who’s benefiting.”
Brandon Yelverton, a political science and sociology major said the perception of people of color as criminals must be changed.
“Be an ally,” he said. “Actively listen. Don’t let fear strangle the desire to help…Even if you’re not personally affected by these things, if you see something is wrong, don’t ever be afraid to reach out to someone and figure out how you can help.”