donnie betts’ Destination Freedom Black Radio Days is the revival of a radio drama from the 1940’s. At that time it told the stories of African American heroes. In 1999, donnie betts approached a local radio station with a plan to bring it back. His revival brings to light both famous and new stories of African American freedom. Often performed by actors in front of a live audience of students, and accompanied by incredible musicians Destination Freedom is broadcast and syndicated across the country.
Where – in what community – do you primarily do your work?
We work in and around Aurora, Denver, and Boulder Colorado and our reach is even broader because we broadcast and stream internationally.
What gets you going each day and inspires your current work?
I want to be a great storyteller–a collector of stories from people who sometimes are not heard, and even if they are heard, that narrative is lost in all of the noise of good intentions or lack of understanding.
When you work in your community, what are the most valuable assets of the community that you experience aside from real estate and money?
Collaborations with other artists, business, and organizations.
How does your artistic practice inform and/or is integrated into your enterprise?
I am a social activist that uses art, radio, film, TV, and storytelling to encourage honest and open dialogue about the issues we face as a world.
What is the impact of your work on your community? Today? Over a long period of time?
Destination Freedom Black Radio Days moves into twenty years of sharing the stories of people of color. Using radio drama, history, music, and community sharing. We bring together artists and community members to tell stories from the past. We move into today and the future by having a 3-year plan of intention around themes of law enforcement and the community, mass incarceration issues, and the wealth gap.
The Nitty Gritty
When was your organization or project founded?
What is your staffing situation like?