That name brings back memories of high school, when my teacher showed us the disfigured face of a teenage boy. However, I did not remember his story. Because of frustration and curiosity, I decided to see the show.
As I approached the box office, I knew I wasn't in a regular theater. The desk was completely decked out with advertisements and forms for the youth programs that the building offered. The lobby itself was pretty large and enticing - so many pictures of plays being shown and youth groups as well. I walked up a small flight of stairs and was immediately greeted and seated in the actual Castillo Theatre. I was a bit skeptical at first because the room was a bit stuffy and dark. It just gave off this weird unfriendly vibe... but then again, this might be the idea setting the tone for a seriously moving play.
When the play, Emmett, Down In My Heart finally began, I was on the edge of my seat from start to finish. It was as if I was a true witness to Emmett's tragic story, as well as the horrors of Jim Crow. For a while, I couldn't tell whose point of view the story was being told from, but I figured out that it was from the perspective of the teacher who didn't speak up at the trial. That made me question wholeheartedly whether silence was embedded in all of us. Do we stand up when we know something is wrong? Or do we stay silent and turn a blind eye?
The simple answer is: it depends. Everything was at stake at that trial determining whether or not Emmett was wrongfully killed. There was no peace for the mother of Emmett Till, even though she and his uncle so bravely broke their silence. The white teacher, who narrated the play, spoke with so much conviction, I felt her pain when she relived the horrendous sounds of belligerence toward the boy she chose not to give justice to.
This show reminded me that I need to use the voice that was given to me. I cannot stay silent like the white teacher because I would then be on the side of the oppressor. By not acting on what I believe is right, then I would be no better than the men who killed Emmett Till.