The PTO Conference Page


Breaking the Silence: From Rebellion to Waging Love
Each year, PTO supports a local organizing team to host an annual gathering of hundreds of educators, activists, change makers, actors and non-actors from all over the world. We come together to connect with each other, create solutions and art, and challenge each other to empower our communities and problem-solve in innovative ways.
Save the Date for #PTOC2017 in Detroit 6/1-6/4

WHEN: June 1st – June 4th, 2017

  • Pre-Conference on May 30th and 31st
  • Welcome Event on June 1st
  • Workshops June 2nd-4th
  • Registration info coming soon!

WHERE:  Cass Corridor Commons, 4605 Cass Avenue, Detroit, MI, USA, a city with a rich history of activism and organizing

WHAT: A chance to LEARN, SHARE, QUESTION, and CONNECT through interactive techniques developed by Paulo Freire, Augusto Boal, and other people working to fight oppression and create justice. Learn more about Freire and Boal and their work at

Conference participants create machines of sound and movements to reflect on their conference experience.

Conference participants create machines of sound and movements to reflect on their conference experience.

WHO: YOU. Students, teachers, scholars, artists, activists, organizers. People of all ages, places, identities, experiences. If you want to build dialogue and make a more just world, you are invited, you are welcomed, and you are NEEDED.

WHY: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of both the 1967 Detroit Rebellion and Dr. King’s speech, “Beyond Vietnam: Breaking the Silence”, where he called for a radical revolution in values based upon the need to struggle against the evil triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism.

Rebellions are typically justified articulations of anger and pain, but are not usually thought of as acts of love. Rebellion is often used interchangeably with revolution, but waging love is also revolutionary and can be transformative. In Detroit and elsewhere, we are shifting our thinking around the concept of rebellion, to expand into and focus on the roll of radical love in transformation.

Theatre of the Oppressed was born out of what Augusto Boal himself noted was an error in judgement, when his theatre company presented a play that called for “shedding our blood to free our lands” without being willing to take up arms themselves in such a struggle.” It was the last time he attempted to impose an “image” of resistance in a community and instead developed a technique for oppressed people to speak their own truths. Waging love is a Detroit truth. It will take a powerful effort to reframe struggle as an act of waging love; we ask that you join us in this a radical act.

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