Special September 30 performance to benefit Civil Rights Institute of Inland Southern California

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Before there was George Floyd and the many more recent police shootings that have heightened attention and spurred outrage through social media, there was Tyisha Miller, a young Black woman shot and killed by Riverside officers nearly 25 years ago.

Miller’s legacy is more relevant than ever and is being shared onstage in the hip-hop theater play Dreamscape. The special live performance will use spoken word, beatboxing, and dance to reimagine the early morning hours that the unconscious 19-year-old Miller was struck by 12 bullets as she lay unconscious in her disabled car.

Written and directed by UC Riverside Professor and multimedia artist Rickerby Hinds, the performance of this painful and historic event will take place at 8 p.m. on Friday, September 30, at The Box, 3635 Market St., Riverside.

Proceeds from the performance will support the Civil Rights Institute of Inland Southern California (CRIISC), a new permanent center for the celebration and defense of civil rights that is opening in downtown Riverside on Saturday, October 22. 

The Institute’s Executive Director Sabrina Gonzalez called Dreamscape “both a powerful statement and heart-wrenching reminder about the realities and trauma that Black families confront every day.” 

“We honor their stories and their lives as a reminder of what we have lost, about the work we have ahead of us, and the continued need to fight for social justice and racial equity for all,” she said. 

Riverside Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson will welcome guests. A post-performance conversation with the playwright, the Honorable Cheryl Brown, Reverend Bernell Butler, and Dr. Deborah Wong will provide audience members an opportunity to hear from some of those who were directly involved in efforts to bring accountability to police practices after Tyisha Miller’s death in 1998. 

The incident sparked demonstrations against police racism and an investigation by the state attorney general. None of the four officers involved in the shooting were charged in Miller’s death but the case led to police reforms in the city and a citizen’s oversight committee to review police officer shootings that result in death.

Dreamscape is centered around Tyisha Miller’s autopsy report. A coroner flatly reads the report, which details the terrible ravages each of the bullets takes as it strikes a body part: her arm, thigh, breast, scalp and teeth. With each shot, the dreaming teen reflects on the milestones and memories of her short life. A softball game…a dance…a kiss.

Playwright Hinds said the development of Dreamscape was difficult as he constantly found himself in the “same place of helplessness where she must have undoubtedly spent her last moments on this earth.” 

“It is a place African Americans have been forced to occupy when interacting with the enforcers of laws which were, for a time in our history, explicitly designed for our oppression and abuse and which now serve a more subtle purpose and space in our oppression,” he said. 

The show has been performed around the United States and internationally. Tickets are $40 and are available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dreamscape-tickets-413450590847.

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About the Civil Rights Institute of Inland Southern California

CRIISC was established in 2017 by leaders who saw an urgent need to protect and advance civil rights education, programming, advocacy, and examination of social justice issues. CRIISC is committed to standing up for equal rights for all, regardless of race, gender, national origin, age, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. The organization’s mission is to be a vital center for inclusion and to memorialize the region’s civil rights history—and shape its future—through social history stories and cultural, civic, and educational engagement.