Performances and Keynotes


Amnesia: A New Play about Race and Immigration

Layering theater, dance, spoken word and an original score inspired by Hip Hop, Klezmer and Mexican folk music, Amnesia tells the story of a young man who retraces his family’s migration from a small village in Eastern Europe through New York’s Lower East Side to Phoenix, Arizona, only to find that the violence his family fled cannot be so easily forgotten. The full production of Amnesia features a five-piece band playing violin, cello, accordion, trumpet, mandolin and percussion. For more information, click here.

Amnesia Keynote: Immigration, Assimilation and White Privilege

How can a “country of immigrants” become anti-immigration? How does assimilation, racism and white privilege affect the national immigration debate? This dynamic keynote provides critical historical context, compelling personal stories and current information about the immigration crisis in the United States. Ariel Luckey presents a multi-media presentation that features infographics, videos, maps and live performance excerpts of his new play Amnesia. Luckey invites audiences to reflect on their own families’ migration stories, the current status of immigrants in their community and the complexities and impacts of national immigration policy and enforcement. This accessible, entertaining and thought provoking presentation asks what happens when we forget who we are and where we came from, when public policy is based on historical amnesia. For more information, click here.

Free Land: A Hip Hop Journey From the Streets of Oakland to the Wild Wild West

Free Land is an unforgettable journey into the heart of American history. During an interview with his grandfather a young white man learns that their beloved family ranch was actually a Homestead, a free land grant from the government. Haunted by the past, he’s compelled to dig deeper into the history of the land, only to come face to face with the legacy of theft and genocide in the Wild Wild West.  Weaving poetry, dance, theater and hip hop music in a compelling performance, Free Land challenges us to take an unflinching look at the truth buried in the land beneath our feet. For more information, click here.

Free Land Keynote: Race and Land in America

This provocative keynote starts with an excerpt of Free Land and then reveals the historical and political context in which Free Land occurs. In an articulate and accessible multi-media presentation, Ariel Luckey provides background information on the Homestead Act, post-Slavery Reconstruction programs and the Indian Wars, illustrating how racially discriminatory federal land policies in the 1860s directly established the patterns of land ownership present today. In addition, Luckey offers historical information about the specific location of the keynote address, be it a school campus, conference venue, or community center, challenging audience members to engage with the history of the very land on which they stand. Drawing on lessons from the past, Luckey raises critical questions for our present and future, calling on each of us to grapple with who we are, who we stand with, and what we stand for. This keynote masterfully synthesizes personal experience, family story and historical context to highlight the connections between race, class and land in America. For more information, click here.

ID Check and the Ecology of Community Keynote

Mixing performance poetry, interactive exercises and live hip hop music in a multimedia presentation, Ariel Luckey invites his audiences to reflect on the dynamics of power and privilege in their personal lives and communities. Featuring his powerful poem ID Check, Luckey shares stories of heartbreaking injustice and inspiring alliance building that provide opportunities for critical dialogue and cultural capacity building. For more information, click here. For more information, click here.

The Art of Justice Keynote

In this creative keynote Ariel Luckey focuses on four successful arts-based models of social justice education: June Jordan’s Poetry for the People at U.C. Berkeley, the East Bay Institute for Urban Arts, Camp Winnarainbow and Destiny Arts Center. Learn how the East Bay Institute for Urban Arts performed original hip hop songs at rallies and community meetings in an environmental justice campaign to shut down a waste incinerator in East Oakland, and how Destiny Arts Center teaches violence prevention through martial arts, theater and dance. Sharing stories from Luckey’s personal experience working with each program, he highlights insights and best practices that can be applied to many artistic and educational contexts. Woven within the stories, Luckey performs and shares samples of the artwork produced by each of these extraordinary organizations.

All performances and keynotes can be modified to meet your specific needs.