FIRE historical and cultural arts collaborative

Erin Williams

Tonight, poet Darius Gardner will be performing spoken word in conjunction with the Black Arts Festival. It's one of three performances he's got scheduled this weekend. 

But when we met a week ago, he was still deciding what to write and perform. It’s all part of his process.

The cast of 'I Ain't Afraid of No Xenu'
Laura Henderson

This past weekend, Queer Theatre Kalamazoo premiered their first show. A ten minute long Star Wars parody followed by the play I Ain’t Afraid of No Xenu.

Denise Miller reading her poem "Speak Easy" at Fire Historical and Cultural Arts Collaborative.
Rebecca Thiele / WMUK

At Fire Historical & Cultural Arts Collaborative, three women are taking the negativity of sexual abuse and speaking their truth to power. 

Denise Miller, co-founder of Fire Historical & Cultural Arts Collaborative, along with Melissa Dey Hasbrook and Laura Sprague will be presenting "Balance," two nights of performing arts focused on moving forward after surviving child sexual assault.

Denise Miller reading one of her poems at FIRE Historical and Cultural Arts Collaborative
Rebecca Thiele, WMUK

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Laura Sprague's occupation. 

Though it’s thought to be one of the most underreported crimes, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimate about 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls will face sexual assault before the age of 18. On Friday night, FIRE Historical and Cultural Arts Collaborative will show a taping of the New York theatre troupe Ping Chong & Company’s production Secret Survivors, where survivors of child sexual abuse use theatre to talk about their experiences.