From the mailbox
Each round, Dear Rhode Island invites a guest penpal or two to write a “Dear Rhode Island” letter, reflecting on what connection means to them as they watch their community begin to rebuild from the pandemic. We’re excited to share these letters with you, both as an opportunity to reflect together and as inspiration for your next letter.
In this round, Francis Parra reflected on the challenges and opportunities that COVID presented to her theater, Teatro ECAS.
Francis Parra is the founder and artistic director of Teatro ECAS. She received the Tom Roberts Prize from the Rhode Island Council of the Humanities awarded Parra the 2018 Tom Roberts Prize, which celebrates creativity in topics, disciplines, and formats that extend the field of the humanities. As RICH described, “Parra bridges the humanities and arts with programming that exposes Rhode Island audiences to Latin American literature and scholarship as well as Spanish-language performance. A powerful cultural leader, Parra makes connections between artistic practice and our state’s demographic changes, ensuring opportunities for the growing population of immigrants and Rhode Island-born children of immigrants to see their own stories reflected in literature and performance.” She was born in the Dominican Republic and graduated from APEC University in Santa Domingo.
This round’s Guest Penpals are Janaya Kizzie and Dr. Michael Fine.
“I’m of two, or maybe even three minds about the pandemic.”Dr. Michael Fine
Michael Fine, MD is an author, community organizer, and family physician. He serves as Chief Health Strategist for the City of Central Falls Rhode Island. Fine is the author of Abundance, a novel about two young Americans caught up in the Liberian civil wars of 1998-2003 (PM Press, 2019) and The Bull and Other Stories (Stillwater River Press, 2020) and Health Care Revolt, which exposes the failures of the health care market to deliver health – and describes a movement to build the health care system the US needs (PM Press, 2018). Since the beginning of the Covid-19 Epidemic, Fine as served as resident public health expert for GoLocalProv, delivering daily commentaries and updates to 50,000 people. His editorials appear regularly in the American Journal of Public Health.
“What exists beneath a scar?”Janaya Kizzie
Janaya Kizzie is an author, archivist, and historian living in the Providence area. She processed the AS220 Collection, documenting the history of arts and place-making, at the Providence Public Library in 2016, and was named the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities Rhode Island Public Humanities Scholar in 2020.