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9-1-1 What's Your Emergency by Jovelyn Richards

  • La Peña Cultural Center 3105 Shattuck Avenue Berkeley, CA, 94705 United States (map)

EVENT: “9-1-1 What’s Your Emergency: The Verdict” by Jovelyn Richards

DATES: April 26 & 27, 2019


COST: $25

9-1-1 What’s Your Emergency: The Verdict by Jovelyn Richards

9-1-1 What’s Your Emergency? premiered as a one-act play at La Peña Cultural Center in 2018 as an artistic response to the local 9-1-1 calls that made BBQ Becky and Permit Patty infamous on a national level. Act one examined how the 9-1-1 call is rooted in “micro-aggression”, yet can have irreparable consequences to communities of color.

We are so pleased to be presenting a groundbreaking second act, “The Verdict”, which further examines the intersection of structural racism and personal psychological narratives that propel the calls.

Written and directed by Bay Area playwright Jovelyn Richards and starring a cast of local actors, the play uplifts the stories of the victims and the defendants against the backdrop of: gentrification, stereotypes, systemic racism and the personal narratives of humanity.


Are 9-1-1 calls against black and brown people hate crimes? The verdict of “Guilty” or “Not Guilty” rests in the hands of the jurors.

On the eve of the court’s decision the doors open into the bedrooms of the prosecutors, defendants, key witnesses, BBQ Becky and Permit Patty. What happens behind closed doors in matters of race can no longer be hidden when everybody’s dirty laundry is exposed.

Poetic justice will be served in this court drama based on real life 9-1-1 calls.

What people have to say about “9-1-1 What’s Your Emergency?”:

9-1-1 What is Your Emergency? is a brave and brilliantly performed play. The characters are raw and relatable, and every word uttered is clearly written with love and grace, making this difficult story approachable to a wide audience. We all benefit from the healing space director Jovelyn Richards creates in her artivism.

– Sarah Maslov, SURJ Bay Area

As the presenting partner, it has been an honor to uplift the visionary storytelling work of playwright and director Jovelyn Richards. When we support black women authors, playwrights and directors we open doors for other POC in the arts, create spaces for communities of color to see their authentic stories reflected on stage, and invite an intercultural audience to sit with both the tension and ease of difficult subjects, a dichotomy that only the arts can create. To Jovelyn and the cast members, thank you for entrusting us with holding this space for you.

– Natalia Neira Retamal, La Peña Cultural Center

VENUE: La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, CA 94705