Art Meets Social Action in Trigger: MDC Live Arts presents Hip Hop Oratorio and Gun Violence Project

Miami, April 12, 2017 – Miami Dade College’s (MDC) MDC Live Arts explores issues surrounding gun violence with Trigger, a social action performance piece with an intensive outreach component, at 7 p.m., Friday, Apr. 21, at MDC’s North Campus Lehman Theater.  The event is free and open to the public.

Developed by composer Byron Au Yong and poet Aaron Jafferis, Trigger tackles themes surrounding gun violence by incorporating community perspectives into a theatrical project which juxtaposes choral music and hip hop. In Act One, a local cast, composed mainly of MDC students,  performs the core oratorio alongside their own original work developed in response to the theme. In Act Two, the audience  becomes part of the performance by participating in a town hall segment, where they are invited to think about belonging and isolation, forgiveness and justice, freedom and safety—and asked to be active negotiators by joining a conversation about advocacy, a letter writing session, or a chance to learn more about organizations that deal with this topic.

Workshops and related events taking place across multiple MDC campuses connect the show with students and faculty to gather different perspectives and further extend conversations around the issue. Activities include a silent march, poetry readings, panel discussions and film screenings which will take place throughout the month of April leading up to the final performance.

“Trigger is a powerful project that has become a catalyst for discourse, expression and action around the issue of gun violence and how it effects communites here in Miami,” said Kathryn Garcia, MDC Live Arts’ executive director.  “It has been an amazing process bringing together MDC students, faculty and community members with our invited artists around this issue.”

Trigger is a project of (Be)longing, a national initiative asking how we recover from violence and prevent its recurrence.


About Byron Au Yong  and Aaron Jafferis

Byron Au Yong composes songs of dislocation scored for Asian, European and handmade instruments. The Seattle Weekly calls his musical events “as exquisite and imaginative as they are unclassifiable.” Dedicated to intercultural, cross-disciplinary collaboration, Au Yong has developed works performed in concert halls, theaters, museums, and site-specific locations.


Aaron Jafferis is a hip-hop poet and playwright. Theatre projects Stuck Elevator, Kingdom and How to Break have been produced by The Old Globe, American Conservatory Theatre, and many others. A former Open Rap Slam champion at the National Poetry Slam Championships, Jafferis creates hiphop theatre Variety magazine calls “claustrophobic and expansive, intimate and existential, personal and political all at once.”


About MDC Live Arts

MDC Live Arts is Miami’s most eclectic performing arts series.  Created in 1990 as Cultura del Lobo, MDC Live Arts has a celebrated history of bringing extraordinary national and international performing artists to Miami. The annual series presents today’s most exciting artists and designs meaningful engagement between these artists, the students of MDC, and the greater community. MDC Live Arts seeks artists from across the globe who push boundaries and honor traditions relevant to Miami’s diverse community, and aims to offer audiences opportunities to discover new ideas, perspectives and forms of expression. For more information, please visit

The Programs of MDC Live Arts are made possible with the generous support of: Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council; the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; the National Endowment for the Arts; the City of Miami Beach Department of Tourism and Cultural Development, Office of Cultural Affairs; the Miami Beach Mayor and City Commissioners; Miami Dade County Cultural Passport in partnership with Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, and the Foundation for New Education Initiative; the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts; and National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund. MDC Live Arts is a Partner of the National Performance Network (NPN). Major NPN contributors include the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
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To learn more about the 2016-17 MDC Live Arts Season, please call 305-237-3010, or visit


MDC Live Arts Contact: Alexa Burneikis, Marketing Manager, 305-237-7733,;
Publicity: Lisa Palley, Palley Promotes, 305-642-3132,