Choreographer Jo Kreiter collaborated with the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) and in partnership with Prison Renaissance to create the second part of a trilogy of works about mass incarceration. The piece’s title, Meet Us Quickly With Your Mercy, comes from Psalm 79:8 in the World English Bible: Don’t hold the iniquities of our forefathers against us. Let your tender mercies speedily meet us, for we are in desperate need. The work premiered outdoors at and around CounterPulse in mid-October 2021.
In this project, Kreiter explored the shared pain of Jewish and African-American histories of race and capture, looking at ways that Black and Jewish relations in the United States have emerged from a long trajectory of solidarity and discord; and asking, “How can Jewish voices amplify the call for racial justice via an end to mass incarceration?” Led by writer Rahsaan Thomas, partnering organization Prison Renaissance brings the voices of artists who are currently incarcerated at San Quentin Prison to the content and soundscape for the project. Collaborating organization MoAD, which showcases the history, art, and cultural richness that resulted from the migration of Africans throughout the world, worked with Kreiter and Thomas to produce public programming that brings together Black and Jewish activists; and it developed a temporary exhibition of artwork by incarcerated people for display in October 2021. Composer and ethnomusicologist Jewlia Eisenberg provided the sonic score.
Kreiter and her company Flyaway Productions are known for critically-acclaimed performances presented in unconventional spaces – often outdoors. “Meet us Quickly…” will take place outdoors at CounterPulse in San Francisco’s Tenderloin, where dancers will perform on suspended frames of steel bars. The premiere, originally scheduled for September of 2020, was rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.