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Black in Mayberry Now a Non-Profit

The award-winning documentary has inspired the creation of a new 501(c)3 organization that will support art with a social conscience.

By Elliott Wright

Portrait of Tanya Taylor in a black shift dress against a white background
Tanya Taylor

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder in 2020, demonstrations sparked a national conversation about racism across the country, from the major cities to picturesque towns like El Segundo.

Residents Tanya Taylor and her creative partner Mark Knight decided to craft a documentary, Black In Mayberry, that would serve as a contribution to that national conversation. Their goal was to amplify the voices of Black people who are usually silenced in white spaces for fear of discrimination. The pair tirelessly worked together to document the everyday experiences of Black residents in El Segundo, and they released the film in 2021.

This year, Tanya has picked up where the film left off by formulating a non-profit organization of the same name. The collective is composed of like-minded El Segundo residents who are combating racism through the medium of art. Black In Mayberry’s board of directors include Lee Tonks, Erin Workman, Debrah Constance, Denise Harris, and Tanya herself.

In making the documentary, Tanya was astonished by the number of community members that came forward to share stories and how deeply the experiences of those featured in the film resonated with viewers. She learned a valuable lesson about how powerful art can be as a catalyst for change. While at protests counter-protestors came to distract and dissuade, the film’s message made a greater impact.

Black in Mayberry’s board members Erin Workman, Denise Harris, Debrah Constance, and Lee Tonks. Tanya sits on the board as well.

As a medium, video provides a non-confrontational space where the information can be absorbed and digested without other disturbances. Taylor realized that there is more work to be done with regard to combating racism and that art can be a useful tool to keep the wheels turning toward the end goal of peace, justice, and liberty for all.

To celebrate the 501(c)3 status, a launch party will take place at ESMoA in Downtown El Segundo on Saturday, May 21st, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. See this issue’s event guide for more details. All are invited for some light food and drink, as well as art and live music.

This story appears in the May 2022 issue of The El Segundo Scene.

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