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BWW Feature: WE THE PEOPLE Opens a Conversation About Democracy as Our Country Rests at a Crossroads

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Presented by Skylight Live

BWW Feature: WE THE PEOPLE Opens a Conversation About Democracy as Our Country Rests at a Crossroads

Now more than ever is the time to consider what the foundation of democracy means to you, especially with the Presidential election less than a week away with our country so divided it seems there is no middle ground on which to stand. Perhaps it's been more years than you can count, if ever, when you last read the Constitution upon which our democracy is based, beginning with its preamble: "We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Now go back and read that again, considering that when our President takes the oath of office, he or she promises the following: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." Then it is our responsibility to make sure that promise is kept.

BWW Feature: WE THE PEOPLE Opens a Conversation About Democracy as Our Country Rests at a Crossroads

Since our rights as American citizens are outlined in this document and its amendments, with so many of our rights in question right now, I was especially interested in tuning in to WE THE PEOPLE, conceived by Tony Abatemarco, Gary Grossman, Wendy Kout, Jeff Reno and Cameron Watson, and directed by Cameron Watson, presented by Skylight Live on October 29, 2020 and streaming through Monday, November 2. Run time is approximately 75 minutes including the after-show Q&A. RSVP at https://skylighttheatre.org/event/skylight-live/ to watch as a celebrity line up of actors and community leaders including Noah benShea, Brendan Boyle, Dan Bucatinsky, Mary Chieffo, Michael Chieffo, Jacquelyn Fergusson, Liz Frances, Melissa Fitzgerald, Hutchins Foster, Jorge Garcia, Allison Janney, Sophie Kim, Sharon Lawrence, Penelope Lowder, Wendie Malick, Allan Miller, Vico Ortiz, James Naughton, Christina Pickles, Kacie Rogers, Charlie Shaughnessy, Michael A. Shepperd, Joe Spano, Desean K. Terry, JoBeth Williams, Haneefah Wood, and Laura Zucker quote portions of the Constitution and offer personal opinions and insights on why it is so vital that we understand the document's importance in our lives and #vote to uphold our rights granted within it.

BWW Feature: WE THE PEOPLE Opens a Conversation About Democracy as Our Country Rests at a CrossroadsWE THE PEOPLE is hosted online by Gary Grossman, Producing Artistic Director of Skylight, who shares, "With the election at hand, and our democracy at stake, this online special event will celebrate and explore our U.S. Constitution. Together, we will encourage our national audience to appreciate and exercise our right to vote."

Signed on September 17, 1777, the Constitution set up our three branches of government, created to offer checks and balances to prevent one individual or branch from having total control, and to unite American citizens as a whole as the founders of our democracy. Of course, the Constitution is a living document, transforming over time via the passage of Amendments, each reflecting the time in which it was written to recognize how our democracy is designed to be of, by, and for the people who have the right to vote to choose our leaders to uphold it.

Each celebrity quoted a portion of the Constitution that speaks to them personally, offering audience members a clear understanding of the guaranteed rights being discussed in that part of the document. For instance, do you realize it was not until 55 years after the civil war that women were given the right to vote, and it was not until 50 years later than that the 14th Amendment giving Americans the "right to privacy" was passed.

BWW Feature: WE THE PEOPLE Opens a Conversation About Democracy as Our Country Rests at a CrossroadsAnd those three words have gone to be interpreted to allow the creation of women's rights via Roe v. Wade and laws on marriage equality to exist, even though those words never appear in the document. So yes, the possibility certainly exists for the Supreme Court to re-interpret that Amendment's meaning and even overturn those rulings based upon personal interpretation by the justices of the Supreme Court.

My own personal thoughts about our rights granted in the Constitution began during Center Theatre Group's production of "What the Constitution Means to Me" at the Mark Taper Forum in January 2020 during which Maria Dizzia opened my eyes to how such "a book small enough to fit in your pocket" is one of the most powerful ever written. Of course, that book she held up proudly contained the Constitution of the United States, the same book held up by co-creator Tony Abatemarco during the after-show Q&A which began his personal journey to create WE THE PEOPLE.

I walked away after the show realizing why it is so important to vote for our Congress members in the House and Senate, as well as our President, to support what it means to us to uphold our rights as granted in the Constitution. And as cast member Kacie Rogers shared, "Remember it's a marathon and not a sprint" to keep the foundation of our democracy in place over the years. And as a woman who is the descendent of immigrants from Eastern Europe who sought the dream of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" on American shores, I know that now is the time for WE THE PEOPLE to re-claim America as our own by honoring our right to #vote as so many millions have already done prior to as well as on November 3.

To find polling places in your area, please visit https://gettothepolls.com/ And then, go #vote.


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From This Author Shari Barrett