Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

October 1, 2001

Whitworth to Address Racism, White Supremacist Movement through Theatre Production, Special Events

Whitworth College's fall theatre production, God's Country, which documents the crimes and subsequent trial of a white supremacist group, highlights our need to confront racism in the U.S., especially in light of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, says director and Associate Professor of Theatre Diana Trotter.

"As we read about attacks on Arab-Americans and on other non-whites since the terrorist attacks, and as we prepare ourselves to battle terrorism in all its guises, perhaps it is useful to be reminded that hatred and religious fanaticism do not always come from beyond our borders," Trotter says.

God's Country will be staged Oct. 12 and 13 at 8 p.m., Oct. 14 at 2 p.m., and Oct. 19 and 20 at 8 p.m. in Cowles Memorial Auditorium at Whitworth College. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door for each performance or by calling the Whitworth Theatre Department at (509) 777-3707.

Written by director and playwright Steven Dietz, God's Country is a documentary drama about The Order, a Pacific Northwest militant group affiliated with the Aryan Nations, whose manifesto was William Pierce's The Turner Diaries. Led by Robert Jay Mathews, The Order conducted a crime spree and then murdered Alan Berg, a Jewish talk-radio host in Denver, Colo., in 1984. The Order disbanded when Mathews was killed in a standoff with F.B.I. agents on Whidbey Island and other members were convicted of racketeering.

"The college's hope is that God's Country will encourage us in our fight against bigotry, injustice and violence by providing information about a dangerous movement that has not gone away, despite the recent court defeat of the Aryan Nations," Trotter says. "We also hope to create opportunities for dialogue about a number of important issues related to the Sept. 11 attacks."

In addition to staging the play, Whitworth is hosting several free, public events to facilitate discussion about racism, white supremacy and hate crimes. The Rev. Jerome Walters, author of One Aryan Nation Under God, a book exposing the Christian Identity Doctrine embedded in white supremacist ideology, will lecture on "American Racial Extremism" on Thursday, Oct. 18, at 7:30 p.m. in the Music Building Recital Hall at Whitworth.

Walters also will join a panel of Whitworth and Gonzaga University faculty to discuss "Social Evil: Where does it come from and how do we respond?" The panel discussion will take place on Thursday, Oct. 18, at 4 p.m. in Whitworth's Seeley Mudd Chapel.

Finally, the God's Country cast and crew, along with special guests, will host Friday night talk-back sessions with audience members. Vince Lemus, who serves as human rights specialist for the city of Spokane, and Whitworth Psychology Professor James Waller will take part in the Oct. 12 talk-back session; Rev. Jerome Walters will join the cast and crew for the Oct. 19 session. The sessions will take place in the Hixson Union Building Café immediately following each Friday's theatre performance.

For more information about the play, lecture, panel discussion or talk-back sessions, please call the Whitworth Theatre Department at (509) 777-3707.

Contacts:

Diana Trotter, associate professor of theatre, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4431 or dtrotter@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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