Local teens take stage for social justice

ATLANTA — On the stage of Midtown Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre, some of the metro’s most talented teen performers aim to send a message.

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“It’s a hard balance to have people enjoy it and also learn,” actor and DeKalb School of the Arts student Imari Welcher said.

It’s the 21st annual Collision Project.

Nineteen actors and singers from 19 different high schools spend three weeks with a classic piece of literature. In this case, it was a poem written by America’s poet laureate, Native American Joy Harjo.

The students then make it their own.


“These young artists are really engaged and trying to figure out what the world means around them, and their place in it,” Director Patrick McColery said.

“The song does sound pretty, but you have to make it mean something.” McColery said.

“I always enjoyed performing and writing, but this experience has been more profound than anything I have ever done in the theatre before,” actor and recent Duluth High School graduate Kana Nagata said.

Each Collision Project has tackled the most serious issues of the day from a younger person’s perspective.

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For this performance, they address the plight of Native Americans and the injustices they suffered.

“This is a moment where we are all able to be heard. This is a moment where our voices can finally come across. We still have to scream to be heard because we haven’t reached the age or position where people will sit down and listen,” Welcher said.

The free public performances are this Saturday and Sunday in Rich Auditorium.