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MediaRites Presents… That Diversity Thing

Shelley B Shelley in That Diversity Thing
That Diversity Thing, written by Bonnie Ratner & Roberta Hunte. Performed by Shelley B Shelley.

A Black tradeswoman is interviewed about the complicated terrain of diversity training and working during the pandemic with a partner that is at increased risk.

MediaRites has been adapting and transforming the monologues from The -Ism Project into short films. Two were filmed with a crew of four, social distancing at Shaking the Tree Studios, which graciously donated their space to us. Another was self-filmed by the actress, her husband and daughter. Check out Being Me In The Current America and Ruega Por Mi.

That Diversity Thing

Written by Bonnie Ratner and Roberta Hunte
Performed by Shelley B Shelley
Music by David Ornette Cherry
Director/Producer: Dmae Roberts
Associate Producer: Samson Syharath
Cinematography: Grant Abbett
Sound Design: Clark Salisbury
Film Editor: Grant Abbett

That Diversity Thing was based on Roberta Hunte’s dissertation work with Oregon Tradeswomen that was adapted into the stage play My Walk Has Never Been Average by Bonnie Ratner and Roberta Hunte.

Bonnie Ratner (writer) has an extensive background in theatre as a writer, producer, director, and actor. Her recent plays include Blind, Hazardous Beauty, My Walk Has Never Been Average (with Roberta Hunte)and monologues for the Red Door Project’s Evolve and Media Rites’ The Ism Project (with Hunte).  Her new work, A Terrible Silence, explores the relationship between power and storytelling.

Roberta Hunte (writer) is the author of the original source material, her doctoral thesis.  She spent considerable time with tradeswomen and OTI leadership.  She is a professor in the PSU school of Social Work and affiliate faculty in Black Studies, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. In preparation for and development of the present film, Roberta called on her primary sources and others to ensure accuracy in the current situation for tradeswomen during Covid..

Shelley B Shelley (Vonnie Harris) in the late 90’s landed a role in Nightly Comes The Hurting Time with Bridge City Productions. She hadn’t acted in 15 years. After that worked on stages throughout Oregon, Texas, Missouri, and Colorado. Roles include Bessie DeLaney in Having Our Say (Jubilee Theatre), Mary Black in Gospel of Lovingkindness, Grandma in Smoldering Fires, and Cecilia Gilchrist in A Sunbeam (PassinArt Theatre), Viola Pettus in American Night: The Ballad of Juan Jose (Teatro Milagro), Shakeina in My Walk Has Never Been Average (August Wilson/Red Door), and Beryl in Slipped in Between Things (Well Arts). Shelley’s film credits include The Music Within, Mama Earth, and The Sacred.  Her television credits include two episodes of Grimm commercial work including Dr. Pepper, Consumer Cellular, Courtesy Ford, Legacy Health, Oregon Lottery, and Kroger/Fred Meyer.

David Ornette Cherry, (Pianist/composer) son of legendary jazz trumpeter Don Cherry, salutes his father’s works along with his own new works. The award-winning Cherry grew up in Watts, and his music is an artful combination of jazz, classical, African, and world music. His noted collaborations include Don Cherry, Ed Blackwell, Charlie Haden, Billy Higgins, Dewey Redman, Phil Ranelin, and Justo Almario, Thara Memory, Glenn Moore, Carlton Jackson, Kamau Daaood, and the Watts Prophet. David was born the same year Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry recorded their first album. More at

On the panel with Bonnie Ratner, Roberta Hunte, Shelley B Shelley are:

Damaris Webb (moderator) teaching artist and theatre maker who is also the co-director of Vanport Mosaic, a memory activism platform (link to

Isis Harris, a board member of Oregon Tradeswomen (link to: Isis is a 9th term electrical apprentice in a ten term, 5 year apprenticeship. She graduated from Constructing Hope and served a three-year term as the Vice President of the Electrical Workers Minority Caucus of IBEW Local 48 and has a social justice-involved history.

That Diversity Thing is a MediaRites production of The –Ism Project.
Special thanks to…
Samantha Van de Merwe of Shaking The Tree Theatre for location support and for her original artwork.

MediaRites’ The –Ism Project received COVID-relief support from the Regional Arts And Culture Council, the Oregon Cultural Trust, The Collins Foundation, the Oregon Community Foundation, Oregon Humanities and Oregon Arts Commission with additional funding by The Emily Georges Gottfried Fund of the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation and the Isabella Chappell Award in support of Theatre from the Portland Civic Theatre Guild.