THE MOVEMENT FOR BLACK LIVES

WE HAVE TO SAY IT AGAIN!

Dancers Jo’Artis Ratti and Samantha Donohue krump to protest police violence in Santa Monica.
(Courtesy of The Washington Post)

June 9, 2020

Dear Family:

We know that by now you have received a number of these emails. But today George Floyd is laid to rest next to his mother. So we say it again, for the people in the back, because it cannot be emphasized enough:  white supremacy must be toppled.

Many people come to Dance Mission to participate in Black dance forms – forms that are rooted in Black bodies, Black experiences, Black joy, Black sorrow, Black revolution, and Black resilience – and so together we insist again that BLACK LIVES MATTER. Unequivocally.

We cry out against the too many lives that have been stolen at the hands of  police violence and white supremacy, including, in just the past few days alone,  our community’s own Sean Monterrosa and Erik Salgado. We acknowledge the pain, trauma, rage, and exhaustion that so many – especially members of our Black community – are experiencing after 400+ years of fighting racial injustice.

AND we have been exhilarated by the actions and protests seen here in the Mission District (led by our young people!),  in San Francisco, throughout the Bay Area, across the nation, and around the globe.  Systemic change is coming… if we sustain the struggle.

We are energized by what appears to be the normalization  of  “Make Racism Bad Again” — and yet, there is  SO MUCH WORK TO DO. And so we say it out loud to our community –  because accountability matters –   that we recommit to our intersectional feminist mission of social justice and know that it is inextricably linked to fighting systems of oppression against Black, Indigenous, and other Communities of Color, as well as members of the LGBTQ community.  We are interrogating our own practices and those in the wider dance community: confronting biases, learning from our efforts and those of others, battling white hegemony over funding, venues,  leadership, and aesthetics, and improving how Dance Mission and our art can become ever more effective agents for social transformation and healing.

So what does this look like for DMT?

We are:

  • Amplifying and partnering with reparation campaigns and dismantling euro-centric biases in dance.
  • Investing in Black artists, arts administrators, leaders, and visionaries, and prioritizing representation and  inclusion in our governance and programming practices.
  •  Co-hosting an anti-racism workshop with Yayoi Kambara of Dancing Around Race on October 17.  More info soon.
  •  Creating and aiding community vegetable gardens to support food justice/sovereignty,  as we recognize that inequities in health (as well housing discrimination, voter suppression, underfunded schools, and ICE detainments, to name a few)  are fueled by structural/institutionalized  racism.

Also, March 2021 is the 30th anniversary of the Rodney King beating. We will be collaborating with artists to create new work that interrogates why we are still screaming, “stop police brutality.”

As always, we welcome your conversation and feedback. We are fortunate to be part of this active community and ever-growing social movement.  Remember to dance — allow it to recharge you the way  you need and fuel your fire the way you want.

Want to support Black artists but don’t know where to start? Check out our roster of amazing teaching artists, collaborators, and artists in residence and donate to them.  They are spectacular.

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