“52 Letters” Delivers Anti-Sex Trafficking Ritual, at Ubuntu, Oakland
Regina Y. Evans Demands, “Ain’t I Somebody’s Baby!”
by Robert M. Gardner
“52 Letters” isn’t for the faint of heart. Regina Y. Evans pulls back the curtain on America’s dirtiest secret. Evans exposes the raw underbelly of Oakland, as she cites a little-known statistic proving that Oakland is a hub for child prostitution in the United States.
Dressed in black robes, gesturing from a black a slave block, Evans intones the mantra: “child” and “prostitution” should repel each other, yet they exist, here, in the Bay Area.
One by one, Evans relates the horrid details of the stories of young girls who are kidnapped, gang raped, addicted to drugs. Children are put on the street to satisfy the perverse desires of men who pay for sex with children.
With each story Evans powerfully repeats: “Ain’t I somebody’s baby? Ain’t I somebody’s child?” She forces us to see these children as our own. We must envelop these lost souls with healing love, rather than struggling with rejection. Without our love, they will wither and die. She has founded Regina’s Door
Evans is supported by the superb vocals of Rashida Chase, barefooted and dressed in a white, plantation style dress. Chase sings the old spiritual “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” in mournful, piercing tones. Coupled with Evans’ stories, her words take on a deeper meaning.
Chase returns to the white lace-covered chair next to the slave block, her eyes uplifted, representing an idealized past. Evans calls herself an abolitionist because she fights to end the modern slavery of innocent children.
Evans hypnotizes us with her storytelling, winding her way into our consciousness, plumbing the depths of our emotion. Each of Evans’ stories tear at my heart and at times it is too much. I cannot bear to hear the pain that these children suffer. Evans stories and the songs wound us,
She deliberately recounts the harsh details because we all are wounded warriors. We form a healing circle and open ourselves to our feelings. During the after-talk with Oakland experts on saving the children, real opportunities emerge.
After each performance other members of the people fighting to save the children come forward to share in their experience and to ask for us to join the fight. One glance around the room and you can see that many members of the audience have been visibly moved and are eager to share.
Regina Evans has achieved her goal in touching the hearts and souls of her audience. She hopes to enlist warriors to join the cause because these boys and girls are not just somebody’s baby, they are ours.
Evans has started a non-profit used clothes store called Regina’s Closet. The store serves as a retreat for boys and girls who are looking to escape their exploitation. Come to her healing ritual and show your support in ending child slavery.
“52 Letters” by Regina Y. Evans, at Ubuntu Theater Project, Oakland, through Sunday, August 25, 2019. Info: ubuntutheaterproject.com
Cast: Regina Y. Evans with Rashida Chase.
Anti-Trafficking Organizations to Support: