Ongoing response to the Charleston murders

Monthly Dialogues to start Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

Thank you to all who joined us on Sunday afternoon, June 21st, 2015. Over 50 people met up at The Flea on short notice for an urgent and productive meeting–an important beginning as we process the Charleston murders.

We heard an outpouring of perspectives that ranged from wanting retribution to offering forgiveness. For those unfamiliar with what we do, usually Willing Participant stages one-time performative responses to “crazy shit that happens” (i.e. the murder of Eric Garner; the acquittal of George Zimmerman). After Sunday’s meeting at The Flea, we realized that the “single-response method” used in the past just won’t cut it this time.

So many issues came up in the meeting like the systemic racism embedded in the founding of our nation, the lack of conversation about & reconciliation with our past, the resulting post traumatic stress, the feelings/effects of guilt and shame: the shit that can propagate horrific acts. And, these are just the ‘highlights’–there’s much more to investigate.

The issues raised are big and we feel that we need to create a more involved response. So, we are going to host a series of monthly dialogues. The dialogues will take elements from different forms (think: dance, lecture-performance, song cycle). They’ll be participatory. If any of this interests you, we urge you to join us:)

We’ll host our first dialogue the afternoon of Sunday, August 2nd. Details forthcoming.


Willing Participant whips up urgent poetic responses to crazy shit that happens. During a meeting, participants work with four ringleaders to research a pressing event and craft a performative reply, which we call a “response.” The group and others then perform the response for the general public within the following week.

To get the low-down on future meetings and responses, sign up here.

Ringleaders: Todd Shalom, Niegel Smith and Ben Weber. Willing Participant is a labor of love and grrrr. An all-volunteer project created by members of non-profit participatory walk organization Elastic City.

Willing Participant identity and site design: Asad Pervaiz
Web development: Alex Gutierrez