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Pulitzer Prize-winning Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks: On Social Justice, Race and Health

November 28, 2018 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Suzan-Lori Parks. Photo by Stephanie Diani

THE INAUGURAL EVENT FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF MEDICAL HUMANITIES AND ETHICS

VAGELOS COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS & SURGEONS OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

SUZAN-LORI PARKS: A TALK & DRAMATIZATION ON SOCIAL JUSTICE, RACE AND HEALTH

Thank you to Suzan-Lori Parks and everyone who made this event such a wonderful, moving, and fun way to showcase the work the Department of Medical Humanities and Ethics hopes to continue well into the future. Suzan-Lori Parks gave a powerful presentation and spoke eloquently about theatre, teaching, writing, the process of letting her characters speak to her, the power of listening to unlock stories, and the ways in which these practices influence us outside of the arts and in healthcare. Here are some selected insights from her speech:

“Listening is a form of offering healing to the speaker. When we listen to the person telling his/her story, we offer an opportunity to heal, just by hearing them.”

“I encourage my students. I am aware that the guru is the one who holds the light, not the one who has all the answers. Don’t fill an empty vessel but treat students as those who know, and try to uncover that.”

“How do we present ourselves as universalists in our art making? One can always be misread and misunderstood. There’s no surefire way. Just keep repeating your truth, regardless of what happens.”

For more glimpses into the evening’s program, search our hashtag on Twitter or find us on Instagram for photos of the evening. The original event description is featured below:

“We invite you to the inaugural event of the Department of Medical Humanities and Ethics of the Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons of Columbia University as we welcome Pulitzer-prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks to speak on race, justice, and health. A MacArthur “Genius” Award recipient, Parks was the first African-American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Drama, which was awarded for her Broadway hit Topdog/Underdog. She has just been named winner of the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, awarded to “established playwrights whose body of work has made significant contributions to the American theatre.”On November 28th, Ms. Parks will speak about her plays as they relate to the topics of race and justice. She will help us to address issues critical to the fields of medical humanities and the ethics of health care—racial justice, bias in health care, and cultural and political polarization. Her presentation will be followed by a dramatization by two actors of scenes from her recent work. Afterwards, we will engage with Ms. Parks in an audience talk-back where we’ll continue to explore questions of inequity in health and society. Her creative art—and her own compelling narrative presentation—will allow us, as words alone would not, to face deep issues of justice and care within our national and professional cultures of health.Suzan-Lori Parks studied writing with James Baldwin and has written screenplays for Spike Lee and Oprah Winfrey. Author of 22 plays and screenplays and one novel, her most recent plays are an adaptation of Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess and “Father Comes Home from the War,” set in the Civil War. She teaches playwriting at New York University and serves as the Master Writer Chair at New York’s Public Theater.

She is at work on her second novel and is writing an adaptation of the film “The Harder They Come” for a live stage musical. Ms. Parks has just finished a new film adaptation of Richard Wright’s Native Son and is working on a film script about legendary singer Billie Holiday. The World Premiere of her new play, “White Noise,” opens at the Public Theater in early spring, 2019.

We are honored to have her speak at the first event of the new Department of Medical Humanities and Ethics at Columbia.”

Details

Date:
November 28, 2018
Time:
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Event Category:
Website:
http://www.narrativemedicine.org/

Organizer

Division of Narrative Medicine in the Department of Medical Humanities and Ethics
Phone:
Tel: 212.305.1952 | Fax: 212.305.9349
Email:
narrativemedicine@columbia.edu
Website:
http://www.narrativemedicine.org

Other

Audience
Open to public

Venue

William Black Building, Alumni Auditorium
650 West 168 Street
New York, NY 10032 United States
+ Google Map
Phone:
212-305-1952
Website:
https://www.narrativemedicine.org/events/
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