Local artist and activist Donnie L. Betts continues the fight against racial injustice with his latest event, “A Letter from Heaven to America from Emmett Till.”
The event will take place on August 28th at 7 p.m. at Dazzle Presents on 1521 Curtis St., Denver. “Letter” is a radio drama and concert that focuses on honoring and remembering two important people whose lives were cut short by racism and police brutality— Emmett Till and Elijah McClain.
Betts specifically organized the event on August 28, as it marks the date Till was murdered 65 years ago in Mississippi. The case of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old who was lynched and killed during a hate crime, became a spark that ignited the modern-day civil rights movement.
“The past is not the past,” said Betts in the event’s press release. “The specter of Till’s devastating crime remains ever-present through modern-day racially motivated murders.”
Additionally, the event also remembers Elijah McClain, a young local black man who was a victim of police brutality a year ago by the Aurora Police Department. There will be a 23-minute concert, symbolizing the number of years McClain was alive. All musicians, including Monique Brooks Roberts, Lionel Young, Andrew Jacob Betts, Onxy Oats, Jeff Hughes, Annastezhaa Mitchell-Curtis and Kari Clifton, will play string instruments in honor of McClain, who used to play the violin.
While the event will be streamed live, people are invited to attend. There will be limited seating and marks will be required in order to abide by social distancing guidelines. Tickets are priced at $20 in person or a suggested $10 donation for online viewing. All funds raised from the concert will go directly to the McClain family.