Coca-Cola Stage
Learn more about HANDS UP ATLANTA: Art & Activism
A free series of virtual conversations and performances exploring the role of artistic expression as a tool for activism.

Directed by Keith Arthur Bolden and Alexis Woodard
Originally commissioned by the New Black Fest in response to the 2015 events in Ferguson, MO, where a police officer fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager, Hands Up is comprised of separate monologues written by seven Black playwrights. The play depicts the realities of Black America from the perspective of varying genders, sexual orientations, skin tones, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

In partnership with:    splogotagblk.png

Presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.

The collection includes:

Superiority Fantasy by Nathan James; Holes in My Identity by Nathan Yungerberg; They Shootin! Or I Ain’t Neva Scared… by Idris Goodwin; Dead of Night… The Execution of… by Nambi E. Kelley; Abortion by Nsangou Njikam; Walking Next to Michael Brown by Eric Holmes; and How I Feel by Dennis Allen II

Special support for this production is provided by:

The Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab, Ms. Ellen Arnovitz, Mr. and Mrs. Joel Arogeti, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Arogeti, Mr. and Mrs. Laurence Bagen, Mr. and Mrs. Barry N. Berlin, Mr. Brandon Bush, Mr. Rob Cleveland and Ms. Mary Lynn Owen, Venessa Collins, Mr. and Mrs. David E. Dermer, Enid & Jerry Draluck, Scott Eisenberg, Mrs. Melanie F. Fine, Ms. Amy S. Gellins, Ms. Suzy Goldman, Joy Jernigan, Eydie Koonin, Debbie Kuniansky, Robin Lazarus, Ms. Donna R. Maslia, Mr. and Mrs. Todd Maziar, Mr. Christopher Moses and Ms. Brittany Loffert, Debbie & Lon Neese, Rosemary Newcott, Mr. and Mrs. Howard D. Palefsky, Topher Payne, Mr. and Mrs. Howard Peterson, Ms. Renae M. Popkin, Mr. Jay C. Constantz and Mr. Doyle C. Reynolds, Mr. and Mrs. Mark Rosenberg, Susan Timna, Pamela L. Tinter, Ms. Amanda Watkins, and Ms. Caitlin Way


Special Events

  • Recasting the Black Image

    Thu, Oct 8
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    In Partnership with EThics logo2.png & Baton-Foundation-Logo-385w.png

    An event about reckoning with the stereotype of the “Black Male”. This artistic presentation and conversation focuses on demands placed on Black men by society and mainstream media and the ways artist-activists are reshaping this image. Featuring screenings of film shorts from the co-directors of Hands Up, Alexis Woodard and Keith Arthur Bolden, and artist Mark Kendall. 

    Moderated by Carlton Mackey, Director of Ethics and the Arts Program Emory and Founder of Black Men Smile
    Mark Kendall, Writer, Actor, Comedian, and Creator of The Magic Negro
    Eugene H. Russell IV, Musician, Songwriter, and Actor
    Charles Stephens, Founder of The Counter Narrative Project
    Anthony Knight, Educator and Founder of The Baton Foundation

    Thursday, October 8th at 7pm EST


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    Carlton Mackey is the creator of BLACK MEN SMILE®, a viral social media platform and empowerment movement for Black men to "celebrate the way we see ourselves".  He is also the creator of the BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE® an apparel line with a mission of building solidarity among women of color, and author of 50 Shades of Black: Sexuality and Skin Tone in the Formation of Identity

    Mackey is the Director of the Ethics & the Arts Program and Associate Director of the Ethics and Servant Leadership (EASL) Program at the Emory University Center for Ethics. He is an adjunct professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies. In the midst of the national reckoning for racial justice in America and the COVID-19 pandemic, Mackey along with the Director of the Emory University Center for Creativity and the Arts created the Arts and Social Justice Fellows Program at Emory University.

    As a community advocate, Carlton serves on the Atlanta Board of Education Ethics Commission and on the Board of Directors of Foreverfamily, an Atlanta non-profit surrounding youth with one or more incarcerated parent with the love of family and providing regular visitation trips.

    Mackey is a Teaching Artist at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA.

    Mackey’s work blends his unique combination of social consciousness, creativity, scholarship, and social connection to create powerful impressions that invite new discovery and personal transformation.

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    Mark Kendall is an Atlanta-based comedian. His one person show, "The Magic Negro and Other Blackness" was produced by Dad’s Garage Theatre and the Alliance Theatre and also performed at ARS Nova's ANTFEST in NYC and The New Ground Play Festival at The Cleveland Playhouse. He completed the Comedy Central Chris Rock Summer School Program, where he pitched jokes at "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report." Mark was named best Professional Funnyman by Creative Loafing in 2015 and was the Readers Pick for Best Comedian in Creative Loafing Atlanta in 2019.

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    Eugene H. Russell IV, born and raised in southwest Atlanta, is a multi-talented vocalist, musician, songwriter, and award-winning actor. His regional theatre credits include East Texas Hotlinks (Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company), Five Guys Named Moe (Theatrical Outfit), Dutchman (Nebraska Repertory Theatre), Nell Gwynn (Synchronicity Theatre), Memphis the Musical (Aurora Theatre), What I Learned In Paris (Alliance Theatre), and Before It Hits Home (St. Louis Black Rep), for which he received the prestigious Woodie King, Jr. Award. A voiceover artist with numerous commercial credits, Eugene’s film/TV appearances include CBS’s “MacGyver,” BOUNCE TV’s “Saints & Sinners,” and FOX’s “Star.” Donning his composer hat, he wrote the music for the Alliance Theatre TVY world premiere of Beautiful Blackbird, producing the commercially released cast recording. With his latest single, “Brand New Day,” Eugene IV leans into his activist spirit, sharing his vision of freedom.

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    Charles Stephens is the Executive Director of the Counter Narrative Project. He has over 10 years experience developing innovative community engagement initiatives, piloting programs, and mobilizing black gay men. He has worked with such organizations as  AIDS United, AID Atlanta,  and Kaiser Family Foundation as a consultant, providing strategic guidance and thought-partnership around program development and policy advocacy with black gay and bisexual men. Past honors include: Georgia State University College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Alumni Award, Gentlemen Foundation Gentleman of the Year Service Award, Arcus Leadership Fellowship,  and the Rockwood Leadership Institute Fellow for Racial and Gender Justice Leaders in the HIV/AIDS Movement. His writings have appears in The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Creative Loafing, Atlanta Magazine, and he is a columnist at The Advocate. 

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    Anthony Knight is the Founder, President & CEO of The Baton Foundation—a nonprofit organization that serves the emotional, intellectual and cultural needs of Black boys ages10-17. Before founding the Foundation, Mr. Knight worked for twenty-two years as a museum educator and consultant. Mr. Knight has extensive experience with and interest in African American history and culture, public and living history, informal education and Black youth. Mr. Knight’s work with The Baton Foundation reflects his ongoing interest in the issues and practices related to the collecting, preservation and interpretation of information about and material culture from the African Diaspora. Mr. Knight’s undergraduate work was in Spanish and English (Ohio Wesleyan University), and his graduate work was in museum education (The George Washington University). Mr. Knight also holds a degree in Spanish-to-English translation from the Núcleo de Estudios Lingüísticos y Sociales, Caracas, Venezuela. Mr. Knight is a New York City native.

    See additional conversations and events taking place as part of the HANDS UP ATLANTA: Art & Activism series.


  • Black LGBTQ Narratives

    Thu, Oct 15
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    In Partnership with TCNP_FinalLogo_g3+.png

    This conversation focuses on the intersections of Black, gay, and trans identities, and the legacy and work of Black artists within both the Black Lives Matter movement and LGBTQ rights movement. Featuring a screening of a film short from the co-directors of Hands Up, introduced by playwright Nathan Yungerberg, and a performance from artist E. Patrick Johnson.

    Moderated by Charles Stephens, The Counter Narrative Project
    E. Patrick Johnson, Performer and Professor of African American Studies; Author of Sweet Tea
    Nathan Yungerberg, Playwright and Author of “Holes in My Identity”
    Trevor Perry, Actor and Drag Performer
    Thandiwe Thomas DeShazor, Writer, Actor, Comedian

    Thursday, October 15th at 7pm EST


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    Charles Stephens is the Founder and Executive Director of the Counter Narrative Project. He is committed to working at the intersection of art, culture, and social justice. Charles served as the Conference Organizer for the historic 2014 conference “Whose Beloved Community Black Civil and LGBT Rights” at Emory University. He also led the innovative social marketing campaign “From Where I Stand” for AID Atlanta. The anthology he co-edited Black Gay Genius, was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. Charlies received the Georgia State University College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Alumni Award and received the Gentleman of the Year Award from the Gentlemen’s Foundation. He has also been a CDC Institute for HIV Prevention Leadership Fellow, an Arcus Foundation Executive Director Fellow, and a Rockwood Leader in the HIV movement fellow.  His writings have appeared in the AJC, Atlanta Magazine, and Creative Loafing. He previously wrote a column for Advocate magazine and Georgia Voice focused on Black LGBTQ+ politics and culture. A native Georgian, Charles received his B.A. from Georgia State University in 2005. He is also a member of the Alliance Theatre Advisory Board. 

    E Patrick Johnson Headshot.jpg

    E. Patrick Johnson is Dean of the School of Communication and Annenberg University Professor of Performance Studies and African American Studies at Northwestern University. He is a 2020 inductee into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. A scholar/artist, Johnson performs nationally and internationally and has published widely in the areas of race, gender, sexuality and performance. Johnson is a prolific performer and scholar, and an inspiring teacher, whose research and artistry has greatly impacted African American studies, Performance studies, and Gender and Sexuality studies. He is the author of Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity (Duke UP, 2003), Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South—An Oral History (University of North Carolina UP, 2008); Black. Queer. Southern. Women.—An Oral History (University of North Carolina Press, 2018), and, Honeypot: Black Southern Women Who Love Women (Duke UP, 2019). He is the editor of Cultural Struggles: Performance, Ethnography, Praxis by Dwight Conquergood (Michigan UP, 2013); No Tea, No Shade: New Writings in Black Queer Studies (Duke UP, 2016); and the co-editor (with Mae G. Henderson) of Black Queer Studies—A Critical Anthology (Duke UP, 2005); and (with Ramón Rivera-Servera) of solo/black/woman: scripts, interviews, and essays (Northwestern UP, 2013) and Blacktino Queer Performance (Duke UP, 2016). 

    He has received multiple awards for his scholarship, including the Lilla A. Heston Award, the Errol Hill Book Award, Hurston/Wright Legacy Book Finalist, Stonewall Book Award Honor Book, Lambda Literary LGBTQ Studies Book Award Finalist, the Randy Majors Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to LGBT Scholarship in Communication, Publishing Triangle Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction Finalist, Lambda Literary LGBTQ Anthology Award Finalist.

    Johnson’s performance work dovetails with his written work. His staged reading, “Pouring Tea: Black Gay Men of the South Tell Their Tales” is based on his book, Sweet Tea, and has toured to over 100 college campuses from 2006 to the present, and his full-length stage play, Sweet Tea—The Play, premiered in Chicago and toured to Austin, Texas, Washington, DC, New York, Los Angeles, Providence, Rhode Island, Durham, North Carolina and the National Black Theater Festival. The playscript was published by Northwestern University Press (2020). He is one of the subjects and co-executive producer (with John L. Jackson, Jr.) of the documentary, Making Sweet Tea, based on his book and play.

    Johnson has received many awards for his performance work, including the Leslie Irene Coger Award for Outstanding Contributions to Performance from the National Communication Association, the Bert Williams Award for Best Solo Performance, from the Chicago Black Theater Alliance, and the René Castillo Otto Award for Political Theater. And his film Making Sweet Tea has also received several awards, including the Judges’ Choice Award at the Longleaf Film Festival, Best Documentary Audience Award at the Kansas City International Film Festival, Best LGBTQ Film at the San Diego Film Festival, Best Documentary Audience Award at the Out on Film Festival, and the Silver Image Award from the Association of American Retired Persons (AARP) for Positive Representation of LGBTQ People over Fifty at the Chicago Reeling LGBTQ Film Festival. In 2010 he was inducted into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame.

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    Nathan Yungerberg is a Brooklyn-based Afrosurrealist and storyteller whose plays have been developed or featured by The Cherry Lane Theatre, JAG Productions, LAByrinth Theater, Lorraine Hansberry Theater, The National Black Theatre, The Fire This Time Festival, 48 Hours in Harlem, The Lark, Roundabout Theatre Company, The Playwrights’ Center, American Blues Theater, Crowded Fire Theater Climate Change Theatre Action, The Sheen Center, The August Wilson Red Door Project, Climate Change Theatre Action, The Bushwick Starr, and BBC Radio Afternoon Drama. He is one of seven Black playwrights commissioned by The New Black Fest for HANDS UP: 7 Playwrights, 7 Testaments, which was published by Samuel French. Awards and honors: 2017 Mentor Project with Stephen Adly Guirgis, Blue Ink Playwriting Award (Finalist), 2019 Djerassi Resident Artist, The 2016 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference (Semifinalist), Ken Davenport 10-Minute Play Festival (Winner). 

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    Trevor Rayshay Perry; They/Them is beyond thrilled to be a part of this panel. As an non-binary artist Trevor lives for new and intresting works and is so thankful for an opportunity that lets them represent their community. Previous Atlanta credits include: Pythio in Head Over Heels (Actor’s Express), Ensemble/Soloist in RENT (Actor’s Express), Eat Moe in Five Guys Named Moe (Theatrical Outfit), Willie in The View Upstairs (Out Front Theatre), and The Emcee in The Red Room Cabaret (The Alliance Theatre). Trevor is a graduate of Western Carolina University with a B.F.A. in Theatre with a concentration in acting. While there he studied with Broadway legend Terrence Mann. They would like to thank their partner Nicholas for all of his support and love! They would also love to dedicate this show to the memory to their mother Maxine. Follow them @MusicklyGifted on Instagram


    Thandiwe Thomas DeShazor is an Atlanta based actor, writer, producer, and director. He is an alumnus of Oakland University's Meadowbrook Theater Apprenticeship Program and a recipient of the San Francisco's Queer Cultural Center Grant for his one-man-show “Children of the Last Days”, a comedy about the intersections of Black church and the LGBT community. Thandiwe has performed and collaborated on new and experimental work throughout the country including “Before the Dream: The Mysterious Life and Death Of Richard Wright” (Oakland Public Theater), “Pomo Afro Homo's Fierce Love” (National Tour), and “Armstrong’s Kid" (off-Broadway). Thandiwe is a founding board member of Oakland LGBT Pride and served as their marketing chair in 2010 and 2011. Thandiwe served as the Artistic Director director of Black Girlz Productions a touring urban theater company.

    Since moving to Atlanta, his theater credits include, “Tomcat”, The Legend Of Georgia McBride” (Actor’s Express”) and “Angels in America” (Actor’s Express). Thandi’s tv credits include Homicide Hunter, Swamp Murders Fatal Attraction. He can be seen in 2018 in Murder Chose Me and in a re-occurring role in AMC’s Lodge 49. Thandi’s artist collaboration business, Thandi & Company has partnered with Blake Vision Entertainment to write and produce musical biographies of soul music legends, Little Richard, Diana Ross, and Aretha Franklin and tour throughout metro Atlanta.

    Since the pandemic, Thandi accidentally became an essential worker. He began the year teaching acting/improv to at risk emerging adults interested in careers in the arts. Because the facility provides essential needs (showers, food, etc.) he’s become essential.

    He’s also been directing productions and readings in the zoom platform; “one in two” by Donja R. Love, “The Grand Transsexual Draweth Nigh” by Sloka Krishnan and currently The Harlem Connection: Paris, Negritude, and the Harlem Renaissance with Théâtre du Rêve, Atlanta’s French language theater company.

    He and his husband live in Atlanta with their 7 year old daughter.

    See additional conversations and events taking place as part of the HANDS UP ATLANTA: Art & Activism series.


  • Racial Healing through Art

    Thu, Oct 22
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    This conversation focuses on the impact of racism and the cultural trope of the “strong Black woman” on the lives of Black women. Join artists, healers and mental health professionals for a discussion of artistic pathways that support activist work around women’s issues and promote healing from racial trauma.  Featuring screenings of film shorts from the co-directors of Hands Up, introduced by Alexis Woodard. This conversation will be followed by an optional 30min Expressive Arts Workshop by Dr. Wendy Phillips. 

    Moderated by Minka Wiltz, Creator and Host of The Cultural Workers Podcast
    Amanda Washington, Theater Director
    Dr. Wendy Phillips, Expressive Arts Therapist
    Shanequa Gay, Visual Artist 
    Dr. Ayanna Abrams, Clinical Psychologist and Founder of Not So Strong

    Thursday, October 22nd at 7pm EST


    Minka Wiltz Headshot.jpg

    Minka Wiltz is a trained classical singer, professional stage actor, and writer. She has collaborated extensively on new and developing works written by playwrights including Robert O'Hara, Marcus Gardley, and Kia Corthron. She has performed on the stages of The Alliance Theater, Horizon Theater, The Actors Express, Synchronicity Performance Group, Working Title Playwrights, The Atlanta Opera, San Diego Repertory Theater and The Atlanta Symphony.

    In 2019, Minka was honored by Emory University with their Community Artist Impact Award. In 2017, she received the Craig Noel Award for Outstanding Lead Female Performance in a Musical. Along with being recognized for her storytelling as an actor and singer, Minka has has also gained recognition as a writer. A three-part narrative inspired by her life as she has survived it thus far, were conceived and presented at Theater Emory thanks to Jan Akers. The first part of the trilogy, Shaking The Wind, was the first musical produced by Out Of Hand Theater as a one woman show in their living room series. Because of it's great success, the original closing date was extended from November 2018 to

    October 2019 with the last performance at The National Black Theater Festival. Her most recent works as include being commissioned to write the first short play for the highly successful 100 Decatur Dinners which is still inspiring new models for healing across racial lines all over America.

    In 2020, Minka was a featured soloist in The Atlanta Opera's production of Porgy and Bess, she starred the scripted Podcast The Seventh Daughter which was produced by iHeart Radio and reached the top 10 fictional podcasts on iTunes. Currently, Minka's personal podcast The Cultural Workers Podcast is available in video format on her YouTube Channel MinkaWiltz, on Spotify under The Cultural Workers Podcast, and on at

    She is always interested in collaborating with adventurers and has no end of ideas for various genres of artmaking!!! Find out more at or email her at Stay safe, be courageous!

    Amanda Washington Headshot.jpg

    Amanda Washington is a freelance director based in the Atlanta, Georgia community working in conjunction with Kennesaw State Univeristy’s Department of Theatre and Performance Studies as a part-time Assistant Professor. Shows she has directed consist of August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean, DJanet Sears’s Harlem Duet, and Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses. Washington is also the creator of Theatre From My View. A YouTube channel geared toward exploring theatre through a woman of color’s perspective. Early in 2020, Amanda started her qualifications to become an Intimacy Director and Choreographer. In May of 2020, Washington received her Master of Fine Arts in Directing from the University of Southern Mississippi. Check out her work at or visit her YouTube channel Theatre From My View.

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    Wendy Phillips, Ph.D., LMFT, REAT, REACE is a Psychotherapist, an Expressive Arts Therapist, a faculty member, and a Research Psychologist. She is a conceptual visual artist whose favorite practice is analog photography. Wendy is drawn to historical and alternative photographic processes and fiber arts. In her research, Wendy uses photography as a method of Arts Based inquiry.  

    Recently, Wendy has been studying and collaborating with artists of African descent in Matanzas, Cuba learning about the ways artmaking and creative expression are aspects of their Traditional Indigenous spiritual understandings and worldviews.In December, 2019 she inaugurated an El Colectivo Macondo Expressive Arts Training Program for students in Matanzas, Cuba by offering Multimodal workshops for adults and children in the Matanzas communities. Together with artists of African descent in Matanzas, she has been researching the retention and persistence of African Spiritual understandings among people of Arican descent in the United States and the Pacific Coast of Mexico. 

    Wendy's most recent visual arts project uses historical family photos and personal and published oral histories as source material in an exploration of physical and sexual assault of women and non-consensual sexual relationships  as standard practices during slavery. She is interested in the phenomena of cross generational projection of trauma and psychotherapeutic and creative practices that facilitate healing. 

    Wendy collaborates with Afro-Cuban director, Tony Romero in documentary film projects about the experiences of persons of African descent in the Diaspora. The film, A Sense of Connection about artists of African descent, spirituality, and creativity will premiere in Madrid, Spain on September 16th, 2020. Their current project, N-95 documents the experiences  and perspectives of persons in the  African American, Latinx, and North American Indigenous communities during the current pandemic. 

    Wendy is a faculty member in the Expressive Arts Therapy Concentration at Goddard College, and is an Adjunct faculty member in the Clinical Psychology and Research Departments at Saybrook University. She is Group Therapist for the students of The Baton Foundation in Atlanta Georgia.  At the present time, she is engaged in a 3 year long training  program with Robert Bosnak and Jill Fischer in Embodiment Theory and Embodied Imagination Dreamwork.


    Shanequa Gay, an Atlanta native, received her BA in Painting from The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and an MFA at Georgia State University. Gay’s work evaluates place, tradition, storytelling, and subject matter to develop imaginative dialogues and alternative strategies for self-imaging. Through installations, paintings, performance, video, and monumental sculptural figures, she fabricates environments of ritual and memorial. By developing counter and re-imagined narratives that live within the duality of physical and spiritual worlds, she explores the historical and contemporary social concerns of hybrid cultures, through the gaze of the African-Ascendant female progenitor. Gay was one of ten selected artists for OFF THE WALL a city-wide Mural initiative led by the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee (2019). Gay was chosen by The Congressional Club Museum Foundation to be the illustrator for the First Lady's Luncheon hostess gift for First Lady Michelle Obama (2013). Gay's work includes features in film and television such as BET, OWN, Netflix and Lionsgate Films. She currently sits as a Do-Good Fellow awarded to individuals working towards a better South (2019-2020) and an Emory University Arts and Social Justice Fellow a program which explores racial injustice and other inequities, leading to creative projects on campus and in the wider community (2020).

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    Dr. Ayanna Abrams is a licensed clinical psychologist in Georgia and CEO/Founder of Ascension Behavioral Health. She obtained her master's and doctorate degrees in clinical psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology with emphasis on diverse populations and families. Dr. Abrams' specialties include working with college aged populations and graduate/professional students, adults and relationship/marital counseling. She has extensive clinical experience working with people of color, specifically Black women, Black men and Black couples. As a trained Emotionally Focused Couples Therapist (EFT), Dr. Abrams meets couples at the intersection of cultural identity and attachment styles in order to improve short-term and long-term emotional connection and relationship satisfaction. 

    Dr. Abrams enjoys providing consultation and creating training/workshops for organizations, schools, churches, hospitals, & other media and has been featured in the New York Times, Essence, Allure and MindBodyGreen, as well as AfroPunk, Therapy for Black Girls and Silence the Shame. She is the co-founder of Not So Strong, an initiative to improve the mental health and relationship functioning of Black women through use of vulnerable storytelling.

    Not So Strong is a black woman led movement that seeks to broaden the view of black women beyond the impenetrable, strong black woman, and seeks to empower women by finding strength through acknowledging and cultivating vulnerability.

    See additional conversations and events taking place as part of the HANDS UP ATLANTA: Art & Activism series.


  • Family Event: Hands Up! Engaging the Arts to Raise Anti-Racist Kids

    Sun, Oct 25
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    A family-oriented event featuring a reading of the best-selling kids book Hands Up!, a Q&A with author Breanna J. McDaniel, and interactive anti-bias and allyship activities for families.

    Breanna McDaniel, Author of best-selling kids book Hands Up!
    Naima Carter Russell, Actress and book advocate @DramaMamaReads

    Sunday, October 25th at 3pm EST



    Breanna J. McDaniel is the author of the picture book Hands Up!, a book reviewer, education consultant and researcher. She holds an MA in Children’s Literature from Simmons University and is currently pursuing her PhD in Education at the University of Cambridge with research focused on representations of black children in contemporary picture books. She's the co-founder of Researchers Exploring Inclusive Youth Literature (REIYL) and though she's originally from Atlanta,GA she now splits her time between the US and UK.  


    Naima Carter Russell is a proud Atlanta actress and a FSU Alumnus with a BA in English and a minor in black studies. She is a Suzi Bass Award winner for her role as Felicia Farrell in Memphis (Aurora Theatre /Theatrical Outfit). She was last seen on the Alliance theatre stage in Pearl Cleage’s The Nacirema Society…and Christmas Carol. Naima is a passionate advocate for diverse books and believes in the power of normalizing Black joy to change a generation. She shares her book recommendations and the drama of mothering 2 girls @DramaMamaReads on Instagram. Also check out her brand new blog at

    See additional conversations and events taking place as part of the HANDS UP ATLANTA: Art & Activism series.


  • Standing Up for Racial Justice

    Thu, Oct 29
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    The culminating event of the Art and Activism series, featuring Atlanta-based theatre arts organizations working on a range of racial justice and equity initiatives. Followed by a facilitated allyship discussion focused on navigating racism together.

    Moderated by Maya Lawrence, Alliance Theatre's Anti-Bias Program Director
    Featuring leaders from:
    BLACT - Black Leaders Advocating Cultural Theatre
    CREAT - Coalition for Racial Equity in Atlanta Theatre
    ATAJ - Atlanta Theatre Artists for Justice
    IDEA ATL - Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in the Arts ATL

    Thursday, October 29th at 7pm EST



Coca-Cola Stage

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The Brand New Coca-Cola Stage at Alliance Theatre is a state-of-the-art proscenium theater offering significant enhancements for patrons including an intimate, comfortable, and sound sensitive environment.  

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