‘Justice on Trial’ merges history, current realities in call for reparations

Greater Faith Productions and the Chad Cooper Company on Broadway are bringing to the Bayou city their production ‘Justice on Trial,’ Saturday, June 4 from 7p.m. – 9p.m. at Willowridge High School’s Performing Arts Theatre.

Playwright and movie producer, Chad Lawson Cooper, wrote this play which serves as the manifestation of his vision for America’s reckoning with what many label “the most heinous crime against humanity,” the enslavement of African people.

“This play was a hit off-Broadway for two years before COVID hit,” said Cooper of the play’s success while touring around the country. “We put it back on the road and have done about seven cities, and we’re very excited about doing it in Houston because of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Congressman Al Green because they are advocates for reparations.”

The play is a call for America to atone for 250 years of slavery, 100 years of legal segregation, Jim Crow, genocide and systemic racism, all of which serve as the core of demands for African American People vs. The United States Department of Justice, the central conflict of “Justice on Trial.’ The fictitious lawsuit brought by Black people asks for $14 trillion in reparations and ongoing damages.

This courtroom drama stars Alicia Robinson Cooper, actor/recording artist Pop-Kulture (Jeremiah Council) and Chad Cooper II, who confront the legacy of slavery and the debt owed to the descendants of the enslaved through reparations, not as a pipe dream but a realistic aim to begin to redress America’s racial wealth disparities.

“We bring back time traveler witnesses, such as Harriet Tubman met and Emmett Till into a modern-day courtroom to tell their stories to a modern-day, mixed jury—Black, white and Hispanic. And they deliberate those facts all the way up until Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbury and George Floyd. So, it’s educational, motivational and inspirational, and it brings realness to the fight for reparations,” said Cooper.

Co-produced by television and movie actor, Harry Lennix, best known for his roles in The Five Heartbeats and The Blacklist, contends, “It is our responsibility to seek the repair and atonement for America’s ‘original sin’ at every opportunity and given any public platform.”

Before the play begins, Cooper’s company will honor several local justice advocates and community leaders, including Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Congressman Al Green, Mayor Sylvester Turner, Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, State Rep. Ron Reynolds, activist Tammie Lang Campbell, NAACP Houston President Rev. Dr. James Dixon, Dr. Janice Howard Crawford and several others.

Activist Shar-day Campbell, daughter of one of the honorees (Tammie Lang Campbell), belives the play is important now more than ever.

“When you consider how K-12 curriculum in Texas is erasing the ongoing impact of the legacy of slavery, it’s clear that we need more timely resources like ‘Justice On Trial’ that educate the community and amplify the work of local leaders,” said Shar-day Campbell, the Honey Brown Hope Foundation’s communications director.

Honoree Tammie Lang Campbell has a personal connection with the play.

“As someone from the same county where Emmett Till was murdered and whose children are only one generation removed from segregation, I realize reparations as an economic justice issue and it’s an honor to have my work recognized by a national production shedding light on this important topic,” she said. “Art and activism have a strong historical connection and ‘Justice on Trial’ will serve as a must-see reminder about the lasting effects of slavery still plaguing African-Americans.”

I'm originally from Cincinnati. I'm a husband and father to six children. I'm an associate pastor for the Shrine of Black Madonna (Houston). I am a lecturer (adjunct professor) in the University of Houston...