Long Beach Opera believes that discussions inspired by art should extend beyond the lobby of the theater. For this reason, LBO is using its 40th anniversary season theme, Justice, as a catalyst to present its brand new event series The Community Conversations Initiative. This initiative features five "Conversations" and three youth programs, and will create community-wide discussions about race, equity, and the justice system throughout Long Beach.

All events are free to the public. However, space is limited; reservations are strongly suggested. You can also join the conversation on our Facebook group; Facebook.com/groups/LBOConversations

The community conversations are supported by a grant from the Knight Foundation.



Dismantling Racism as a Community

February 9th at 2 pm • 2019
Michelle Obama Library, Long Beach 

Featured Speaker and Performer: Dr. Derrell Acon, bass-baritone (activist, lecturer, and LBO Manager of Education and Community Engagement)
Moderator: Dr. Sabrina Sanders
Panelists: Katie Balderas (Manager of Office of Equity for the City of Long Beach), Audrena Redmond (Black Lives Matter Long Beach Co-Founder).

This performance lecture explores how the performative arts can catalyze discussions around race and justice. The event includes performances of spirituals, art songs, and literary works by Langston Hughes, Amiri Baraka, W.E.B. Du Bois, and others. The panel will discuss how Long Beach as a community can address racial inequity and injustice.



Equity and Diversity in the Arts

March 10th at 3 pm • 2019
Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach 

Featured Speaker: Dr. Naomi André (professor and the author of the book Black Opera; History, Power, Engagement)
Performers: TBA
Moderator: Tasha Hunter
Panelists: Naomi André, Anthony Davis, and others

Author Dr. André speaks opera, black performers and of blackness. She is joined by Anthony Davis, composer of The Central Park Five, on a panel about equity and experience.



Life Beyond Prison

April 30th at 6 pm • 2019
CSULB Studio Theater

Featured Speaker: CSULB, Rising Scholars Justice Lab  
Moderator: TBA
Jasmin Harris (California Innocence Project), CIP exoneree,  CSULB Rising Scholars Justice Lab members

Experiences of formerly incarcerated persons. The Rising Scholars Justice Lab comprises individuals who are now pursuing academic degrees. They will discuss the trauma of being in jail, their personal trust issues, and having a criminal record. The California Innocence Project takes on cases of wrongful incarceration. The event also includes performances by artists affiliated with LBO.



Guilty Until Proven Innocent

May 25th at 3 pm  • 2019
Long Beach City College, Dyer Hall 

Featured Speaker: Gary Tyler
Kimmy Maniquis
Gary Tyler, Carl Kemp (Long Beach lobbyist and community leader) and others.

Mr. Tyler was the youngest person ever convicted of the death penalty and was incarcerated in Angola prison for 41 years before having his sentence overturned and being released in 2016.



Black Lives, the Arts, and Mattering

June 6th at 6 pm • 2019
Long Beach City Council Chamber

Featured Speaker: Anthony Davis
Performers: Anthony Davis, Nicole Mitchell (flute), cast of The Central Park Five 
Moderator: Chris Anthony
Panelists: Councilmember Rex Richardson, Marcina Riley (My Brother's Keeper Initiative Coordinator, City of Long Beach), and others.

Acclaimed composer Anthony Davis shares his inspiration for writing The Central Park Five, which will receive its world premiere at LBO June 15, 2019. He is joined by performers from the opera. The planel explores how music and art is used in activism and how classical music can more effectively participate in activism.



Thank you to our Community Advisory Committee:

Chris Anthony, Kate Azar, LaDawn Best, Herlinda Chico, Anthony Davis, LaVerne Duncan, Otis Hogan, Tasha Hunter, Greta Mandell, Dr. Vickie McCloyn, Rex Richardson, Dr. Joni Ricks-Oddie, Dr. Sabrina Sanders, Shawna Stevens, Griselda Suarez, Marcus Tyson, Dr. Rev. Leon Wood, Paula Wood, Glenda Williams, & Marcus Tyson.


Contact Us

Project Director: Dr. Derrell Acon, LBO Manager of Education and Community Engagement

E-mail: [email protected]

Phone: 562-470-7464 x111


Join the conversation on Facebook

For those unable to attend in person, the conversations will also be live-streamed on Facebook.

National Endowement for the Arts    California Arts Council Arts Council for Long Beach City of Long Beach Art Works Opera America KUSC

This activity is supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency. Learn more at www.arts.ca.gov
Supported in part by a grant from the Arts Council for Long Beach and the City of Long Beach.
Long Beach Opera events are supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission