Editor’s Note: We know how hard it is right now; we’re living through it with you. Some of us are asking, how can we keep doing this? That’s why this week were focusing on how being part of the New Orleans community means being part of something unlike anywhere else in the world. Yes, we’ll be highlighting small businesses and art adventures that make this city beyond special, and we’re also highlighting all of you that offer water, freezer cleaning, or a place to plug in the phone and cool off during the Ida-aftermath. Stay strong, All!
What: The Breathe Project
Film by: This short documentary was produced, shot, and edited by Ashley Deshotel, a student in the “Introduction to Documentary Production” class in the Film Program – School of the Arts, The University of New Orleans.
Editor’s Note: Jada Williams and Gabriel Lopez Ruiz are both theater majors who explore the topic of racism and discrimination through their play as part of The Breathe Project, which is an opportunity for bioprivacy students to really express themselves. We tend to always have an issue with being on the back burner when it comes to out voices being heard and with this project out voices are being amplified and put in and highlighted instead of being secondary to somebody else’s
Gabriela Lopez Ruiz: Hello my name is Gabriela Lopez Ruiz, and I’m a theater major at Loyola University New Orleans. I was born in Mexico City, and I really just enjoy play writing, acting, and directing.
Jada Williams: My name is Jada Williams. I go to Loyola University of New Orleans, and I am a theater major and third year student. My family is originally from Chicago, but I’ve been living here almost 6 years now, so New Orleans is home to me now.
Gabriela Lopez Ruiz: Over the summer Jada and I wanted to collaborate on a play. We knew that’s what we wanted to do, and we tried to submit through some other companies, but we unfortunately didn’t have the time to hand it in, and then one day I was scrolling through Instagram, and I saw some rep post about the breath project, and I thought it sounded really interesting because at the time we were all having the conversion within my school about discrimination and racism. So I reached out to Jada and asked her if she wanted to do this with, and that’s how it all started.
Jada Williams: The breathe project is an opportunity for bioprivacy students to really express themselves. We tend to always have an issue with being on the back burner when it comes to out voices being heard and with this project out voices are being amplified and put in and highlighted instead of being secondary to somebody else’s, so that’s what I believe the breath project is about.
Jada Williams: One primary challenge that we faced at first was trying to figure out what exactly we wanted to say in this piece and how we wanted to get our message across.
Gabriela Lopez Ruiz: At first when we started writing it I was like, ‘how are we going to put both our ideas and how are we gonna type what we both want to say?’ but I learned that you can really work on it independently and together at the same time and really use both of our experiences because that’s what the piece is: our personal experience put into a show or into a piece.
I think what we want people to take away from this performance is to know that even growing up today we still have these little moments where they happen and these big moments where that happens, and it’s not okay.
Jada Williams: This is something that comes from the heat and also these are these are personal experiences that you may or may not relate to but not meant for you to exactly say you’ve been through specifically but more so for you to understand that these are things that real people go through in real people time, you know, no matter how old they are no matter who they are.
Gabriela Lopez Ruiz: For the people that do go through this stuff and can relate to our stories, I think what I would want them to take away is that they do have a voice, and they should be heard, and they should fight to be heard, and I know its exhausting — like I’m exhausted and obviously it’s not what I want to do my entire life. I want to be the representation that I never had growing up.
Jada Williams: Whatever I do I want to make sure that I’m amplifying somebody else’s voice. I’m using my platform to, you know, help somebody get a step up and also making sure that I am focusing on my community as well. So as many times as I can I’m going to tell their stories whether it be mine or somebody else.