The Justice Theater Project presents “Bent” – a drama about Germany’s Third Reich’s persecution of homosexuals.

Max and Horst, two homosexual prisoners branded with the “pink triangle” at Dachau’s death camp.

In November, I published an introductory blog (link) about North Carolina’s The Justice Theater Project, a social justice theater company whose mission is to produce compelling theater experiences that create community dialogue and give voice to social concerns.

As a diversity consultant who often address these same issues, I am a big proponent of transporting people out of their daily lives through the performing arts to give them a fresh prospective on societal issues. (see additional blogs at the bottom of this one.) What is particularly unique about The Justice Theater Project is that in addition to offering various plays, they pair that with pre-show discussions, highlighting community organizations, educational opportunities and outreach.

The Justice Theater Project’s 2017 – 2018 season is titled “Equity and Identity” and is addressing issues such as racism, homophobia and classism. The season’s first play last fall, “A Soldier’s Play” dealt with various issues around racism through this murder mystery set in a 1944 desegregated army base in Louisiana. And now the upcoming play is “Bent”; this path-breaking drama is a lesson in history, a cautionary tale, and a tragic love story about the Third Reich’s persecution of homosexuals. Homosexuals in Nazi Germany were ranked at the very bottom of the human scale, and the pink triangle, a sewn-in badge of shame, was introduced into the Nazi concentration camps.

Indeed looking back at recent history through plays such as “A Soldier’s Play” and “Bent” delivers insight into the harm done to marginalized groups, how they cope with their challenges, and that society as a whole needs to take ownership to address it.

The play runs February 9 -11 and 15 – 18. Earlier community activities include a movie showing and a book discussion about “The Pink Triangle.” For a full listing of activities and to purchase tickets to the “Bent” show, visit The Justice Theater Project’s “Bent” show web page.

And now some big personal news! My own involvement with “Bent:”
• At the February 9th show, I will be representing the Raleigh Business and Professional Network, Raleigh’s LGBT Chamber Commerce, giving the five minute intermission advocate introduction and staffing an information table after the show.
• And at the Saturday evening February 10th performance, I will lead the 6:30 p.m. pre-show discussion sharing my “Eight Life Lessons as an Out Gay Man that can apply to everyone,” discussing coming out, LGBT workplace issues and more. This pre-show event is free, and you may attend if even you are not staying for the play.

I look forward to seeing many of you at The Justice Theater Project’s production of “Bent!”

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Links to support The Justice Theater Project and to previous blogs about diversity and inclusion being promoted through the performing arts:

• You can support the work of this wonderful organization through sponsorship or becoming a season subscriber – details on the JTP website.

• I introduce the JTP through the blog “The Justice Theater Project – Societal Impact Through the Performing Arts.”

“Promoting Diversity and Inclusion Through Bluegrass Music,” is about an innovative annual concert called “Shout and Shine” of diverse Bluegrass musicians. This celebration came about in 2016 as a direct response to North Carolina’s oppressive HB2 “bathroom bill” discriminating against our LGBT citizens.

“A great diversity experience – Theater Breaking Through Barriers” about enjoying an off-Broadway play in New York City which featured actors with a wide range of disabilities.

New Consultant Joining Total Engagement Consulting to Assist with Transgender Diversity

Elaine Martin is joining Total Engagement Consulting to assist with work in the transgender diversity area

Elaine Martin is joining Total Engagement Consulting to assist with work in the transgender diversity area

Over the past few years, there has been a tremendous growth in the business diversity field for a deeper understanding of transgender individuals and how to best support transgender employees in the workplace. I am very pleased to announce that Elaine Martin is joining the Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer team as a part-time consultant on call to assist my clients in this key area.

Ms. Martin frequently speaks on a variety of trans related topics to provide deeper understanding of and support for transgender people. Among them are:
• Transgender 101
• How to Gain Support from Your Spouse and Family
• Trans People … Everything you were afraid to know, but wanted to ask
• Transitioning in the Work Place (augmenting my deep expertise in HR policies and practices to support transgender employees)

Ms. Martin will be available to speak on these topics as well as customizations for your audience, as a solo consultant, as well as team teaching longer workshops with me. She will also be an ideal resource for your enterprise to provide 1-on-1 coaching to assist your employees in transitioning professionally in your workplace.

Ms. Martin believes that the most important step in activism is “showing up.” This is particularly true for transgender people because so few people have ever known or met a transgender person. Familiarity with people different from themselves is very often the key to understanding, respect and support.

With a BA in Psychology and an MBA in Finance, Ms. Martin has a robust professional resume which positions her as an ideal consultant in the workplace arena, including training of senior executive teams. In addition to owning and running her own businesses and being a commercial pilot, she worked in the banking industry as a senior vice president and executive vice president responsible for teams of up to 1,000 people. Positions included responsibility for all operations, IT, lending operations, corporate marketing, government relations, human resources, product development and more.

Within the community, Ms. Martin has served on numerous boards, including most recently as the Board Chair of Equality North Carolina from 2012 – 2014. She is now on the board of the Raleigh Business and Professional Network, which is an affiliate chapter of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

Ms. Martin is Total Engagement Consulting’s second “consultant on call” team member, and can be contacted at [email protected]. Elsa Maria Jimenez-Salgado (link to info about her) remains part of the Total Engagement Consulting team with a focus on providing bilingual consulting services including diversity training for clients requiring services in Spanish.