About A Time to Break Silence
A Time to Break Silence is an annual series of events in which artists and activists collaborate to raise awareness about a range of social justice and environmental issues from around the world. Change for compassion and justice is inspired through the emotional empathy and imagination found in the art and music. Refugees have told harrowing stories of suffering and courage and activists have opened minds to innovative solutions. The audience experiences various art forms and genres of music in between educational talks with common themes throughout. Over the years funds from the ticket sales have benefitted various non-profit organizations doing work for human rights, animal rights or the environment. Each event has different themes that the artists and activists work together on for an educational and poignant program.
A Time to Break Silence was co-founded in 2012 by Castleton Festival alumnus and renowned opera singer Davóne Tines and activist Orson Maazel. Since 2013 A Time to Break Silence performances have taken place at the Theatre House at the Castleton Festival, a music and art festival founded by a renowned artistic couple, conductor Lorin Maazel and actress Dietlinde Turban Maazel.
In 2022, A Time to Break Silence has gone virtual because of climate change, to reduce our carbon footprint by removing the environmental harm from travel to in-person events. The virtual format is also making the program accessible to a larger audience.
The title A Time to Break Silence is inspired by a speech Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave against the Vietnam War. A piece of music composed in honor of Dr. King was performed at our first A Time to Break Silence event in 2013.
In the words of philosopher and activist Cornel West: "In short, Martin Luther King, Jr., refused to sell his soul for a mess of pottage. He refused to silence his voice in his quest for unarmed truth and unconditional love. For King, the condition of truth was to allow suffering to speak."
Senator Nina Turner commented on this on her podcast Hello Somebody: "You know we hear Dr. West say that all the time, as I was reading that I could hear him say that, I've been in his presence many times as he has said that we must allow suffering to speak. What kind of suffering have we seen, what type of suffering have we witnessed in our lifetime, and the messages that that suffering is trying to unveil, from the Black Lives Matter movement to the workers' strikes, and their attempts to unionize, hello Amazon! We've got to allow suffering to speak, go ahead Dr. West you'd better say that..."