In Response to the Killing of George Floyd and
In Calling for the Development of Anti-Racist Perspectives (6/4/20)
Image by Andresito Guzman
I hope you are safe, connecting with community and practicing self care.
I’m heartsick by the murder of Mr. George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. His death is the result of ongoing injustices that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in our community face.
The immense losses of life and livelihood compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic have further revealed the realities of systemic racism. I see the pain in my communities, and I grieve with you. I believe in my ability and commit to making a difference with my art because I value equity and am working to develop and action upon anti-racist perspectives in my work in performance and education.
The art I make and share carries an important message: everyone’s got groove, and can and should use it, because rhythm is at our shared human core. Embodying it is an accessible way to appreciate one another’s similarities and differences simultaneously and joyfully.
I believe in innovating within jazz dance from the springboard of my own experiences, which prioritize deeply studying and visibly crediting the African and Latin diasporic movement ideas that are at it’s roots and within it’s branches like Swing and House dance.
My accountability as a white practitioner of jazz dance includes:
- Listening to, learning from and amplifying the voices of Black artists and other Artists of Color;
- Commitment to crediting the African and Latin diasporic root and branch forms that deeply inform my work, as these roots have long been and continue to be invisibilized due to ignorance, commercialism and racism;
- Infusing and surrounding my work with the anti-racist perspectives and actions I’m striving to further develop personally, as I listen carefully to what is needed in my communities.
The work is hard and it is ongoing, and for me, includes continued and further examination of how I can operate with and further anti-racist perspectives and actions. You can expect to see more from me in the coming weeks and months as I shift my actions in ways that address the public health crises of both Covid-19 and racism.
I’m trying, and I’d like to try with you to build our collective, current efforts into sustained habits. I am proud to shoulder these responsibilities as I continue to better how I do this work.