ShaWanna Renee Rivon
In 2020 while developing another play with Rec Room Theatre's Writers Group, ShaWanna found an article about the assassination of Carl Hampton, and it blew her mind that she’d never heard the story before. After more research she discovered what happened to the Black Panther Party across this country, that the party created numerous programs to help all people with a focus on their Black community, but J. Edgar Hoover with is COINTEL PRO wanted to see the Panthers shut down and therefore most were placed in prison or
assassinated by the police. Houston’s story was no different except their story was not widely shared. With months before her play was due ShaWanna decided to change her story to center on the assassination of Carl Hampton but told through the eyes of four female members. Why? ShaWanna discovered the Panthers had a high number of women members, and, she had never seen a play that featured an all-female Panther cast. During Covid ShaWanna connected with the Houston members through first contact with John “Bunchy” Crear. ShaWanna and Bunchy’s friendship has grown over the two years and other projects about the Houston Party II has been created.
ShaWanna is an artist-activist and her writing and community work crosses paths often. She realized through her writing and collaboration with artists, that she could bring awareness to issues we as Blacks are still dealing with. The Black Panthers knew how to organize and find solutions to issues in their community however their work was cut too soon. With creating the Black Power Arts Celebration ShaWanna wanted to create a space for other likeminded artists and community activists to learn from prominent members of the party on how to listen to the community to help, absorb the work and the programs they created, and learn how to use art and special skills to help heal our communities. ShaWanna also invited current community activists who can give us insight on what we as a Black community are facing today. ShaWanna is thrilled about the event and hopeful that together, we can find answers.
Organizations & Artists
“I am a self-taught designer and a fashion and style enthusiast who upholds her duty to activism using creativity and narrative storytelling to uplift social justice reforms.”
Based in Houston, Texas, Pure Justice is a Black-led, membership-based organization that aims to transform Harris County’s criminal justice system and remove economic barriers for formerly-incarcerated individuals. Driven by Black and Brown Houstonians who have been impacted by the criminal justice system, Pure Justice uses grassroots organizing and policy advocacy to achieve systemic change. By raising community voices and crafting policy solutions that meet community needs, Pure Justice aims to break the cycle that traps low-income people of color in a cycle of incarceration and economic crisis.
Engaged Voters is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with a mission to develop informed voters into agents of change through organized post-election engagement with elected officials.