A little over a week ago I was invited to participate in Storying Violence: A Cross-Disciplinary Conversation at the Top of City Hall as a member of the social media (I live-tweeted the event and I am blogging about it now). Always pushing myself to confront uncomfortable personal and social issues, I accepted.
One of the closing events in Suzanne Lacy’s Three Weeks in January project, Storying Violence brought together nine prominent civic and community leaders, including Gail Aberbanel (Director of the Rape Treatment Center), Aileen Adams (Los Angeles Deputy Mayor), Chief Charles Beck (Chief of the LAPD), Jodie Evans (co-founder of CODEPINK), Julie Hébert (writer and director), Dr. Jackson Katz, Professor Rose Monteiro, and Dr. Francesca Poletta. The event took place on the 27th floor of City Hall—the top floor of a building which only a short time ago was the site of Occupy LA.
Moving from the ground floor outside to the top floor inside was a shift I never imagined would be possible for me to make. The Tom Bradley Room, as the 27th floor is referred to, was ornate with all the pomp and circumstance one would imagine of such a central civic building—gold molding everywhere, a large domed ceiling, marble tiled floors, and velvet covered windows. At the center of this massive space was a low stage where the nine guest speakers were seated. Surrounding them were four massive stage lights, which not only physically but perceptually put them in a space separate from the rest of us.