“The most meaningful presentation I have ever seen on race, power imbalances, and the exercise of authority.”
– Circuit Court Judge, State of Oregon
The Evolve Experience is a unique arts-based workshop built around first-person narratives from police officers, judges, and Black community members describing their lived experiences at the intersection of race and the justice system.
By providing a framework to witness these true stories and engage in open dialogue, The Evolve Experience inspires participants to connect with their common humanity across difference, discover shared values, consider alternative views, and see multiple truths.
Witnessing personal stories lays the foundation for empathy and compassion, which opens a willingness to adjust thinking and behavior, creating the possibility for transformation at the individual, institutional, and community levels.
The Evolve Experience decreases polarization and increases capacity to hold complex, nuanced viewpoints through examination of the relationships between law enforcement, the communities they serve, and the broader justice system.
Evolve performances are supported by facilitated discussion and activities that teach the skills needed to successfully navigate conflict, bias, and change, including self-awareness, flexibility, and curiosity.
This approach lowers people’s defenses and allows them to engage each other in a deeper, more sympathetic way, which opens up more meaningful, solution-oriented discussion.
Since its premiere in May 2019, Evolve has engaged 3,237 individuals including over 1,600 criminal justice professionals, through 50 events. Recent partners have included police departments in Beaverton, Forest Grove, West Linn, and Lake Oswego (Oregon), the Nevada State Supreme Court, Alaska State Courts, the South Dakota Unified Judicial System, the Mondavi Center at the University of California Davis, and Central Oregon Community College.
“It was a safe space to watch and react to these stories. The discussions were very moving. I’m also finding myself nearly a week later still thinking about little details that have stuck with me. It really left an impression.”
“This workshop will challenge you to listen to different perspectives and offers a safe space to tackle uncomfortable issues and conversations.”
“The combination of performance, discussion, and bridging understanding makes The Evolve Experience one of the best and most meaningful trainings I’ve participated in.”Adrienne Nelson, Associate Justice, Oregon Supreme Court
“It’s critical that all of us take the time to reflect about what it takes to be a change agent. That’s the only way things will change. Whatever our government or institutions decide, no real &/or sustainable change happens if individuals don’t take ownership of that change at a personal level.”
“It’s a powerful experience that challenges your preconceived ideas on racial and social justice inequalities. It provides you with a safe environment to share your feelings and not feel like you’re walking on eggshells which I very much appreciated.”
“I really believe in RDP’s mission to engage people in conversations through theater. The vulnerability in the monologues triggers a certain willingness to look inward and see how you can personally move from protect to expand, and I’d love for more people to be able to experience theater-based discussion.”
“As I continue through programs like the Red Door Project, I am learning more and more that my experiences are only my experiences. To move this conversation further, I need to listen more and explain less. And I need to encourage others with privilege to listen more, helping connect them to voices that they can hear.”
“The Evolve Experience provides a good opportunity to discuss current events around race, bias, and community, and allows people to develop tools that will lead to better understanding and evolution of different perspectives, and improved community health.”
“In the law enforcement community, it is difficult to find training that invokes emotion and curious thought. While the conversation around bias continues, it is usually very shallow, scripted, and without passion… The Evolve Experience is far and above some of the best “training” I have ever attended.”TERRY MOSS, LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR, OR DEPARTMENT PUBLIC SAFETY STANDARDS AND TRAINING
“For one, I will be checking myself before I try to be “helpful” when I really don’t know other peoples’ experience — I can now see how I can be viewed as dismissive.”
“This is exactly the type of program I’ve been looking for, for a different audience: partners and senior associates in elite law firms who know NOTHING of these experiences. It might be a tough sell, but I plan to promote this to just such a group.”
“One of the most powerful things about the project is its utter humanity. It is surprising, harrowing, and rich. It is social justice work, it is educational, and it is powerful theater. It gives hope. Not an easy hope, but a hope that takes courage and conviction to embrace.”Maureen Porter, Managing Artistic Director, Third Rail Repertory Theatre
This 3.5-minute video explains our systems-theory approach to change.
The Listeners Podcast is a show about the craft and power of listening, produced by the Agora Journalism Center, the gathering place for innovation in communication and civic engagement at University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication. Kevin and Lesli chat with host Andrew DeVigal about closing the gap between racial divides by taking center stage.
An interview with the Red Door Project founders discussing the power of stories to engage audiences and facilitate dialog.
Kevin Jones’ 2019 TEDx talk digs deep into the philosophy that led The Red Door Project to the development of The Evolve Experience.
The Portland Mercury’s Steven Humphrey explores the Red Door Project’s journey from Hands Up to Cop Out to Evolve and how all of this work connects with our mission: to change racial ecology through the arts.