on not staying silent.

i wasn't going to write to you this week.

I’m at the Jersey Shore on my annual family vacation and thought we could all use a break from Creative Fridays.

But then Charlottesville. And then Trump (not speaking up about it and then speaking up and then speaking up again to show his true colors as he basically condones this disgusting, evil hate crime.)

this is all not ok.

And while some of us might have the privilege to take a vacation from it all, so many do not. You cannot take a vacation from racism. You can try to pretend it doesn’t exist - or live in your own bubble where it seems to not exist - but that doesn’t help and doesn’t change anything.

I write this to you not because I have the answers, not because I want to sound smart or be acknowledged in any way. I write this to you as a fellow human being who happened to be born into a white-skinned body, who has lived in a major city for more than half my life, who has worked with, danced with, had romantic relationships with people of many different races and religious beliefs, who has been silent and ignorant at times without realizing it, who wants to take responsibility for doing her part to change the world for the better. 

I write this to you even though I often feel intimidated by politics and scared I’ll say the wrong thing or offend someone or sound ignorant because I haven’t been watching CNN, etc. every day. It’s easy to get caught in my own troubles - whether it’s the struggle as a caretaker of two sick parents or the ever-evolving ups and downs of being an entrepreneur and artist - and those struggles and worries can get blown up in my mind and take up so much of my mental space and time, that what is left? 

what is left is the world.

What is left is the fact that people of color, people of different religious beliefs, have to walk around this planet in fear of or expecting to be discriminated against. What is left is the fact that people are BEING KILLED because of the color of their skin. What is left is that our planet is struggling majorly - in all ways socially and environmentally - and it’s because of human ignorance, divisiveness and injustice. 

what’s also left is creativity.

What’s also left is the universal language of dance.
What’s also left is our strong bodies and even stronger souls, which have the ability to rise up and move. 

I still believe that awakening our bodies and our dance and our creativity can and will change the world - AND we have to stay vocal, stay connected, and take direct actions as we wake them up… as we wake ourselves up. 

To this point, I’m researching and mobilizing in all the ways I know possible this week. Sharing below some resources you can check out if you want to do the same, and I’m also open to feedback and suggestions from you if you have them. 

Stay tuned as well for updates on the soon-to-be-released You Can Dance Again program, as we brainstorm behind the scenes on how to continue to adapt and utilize dance as a platform for social change.

with a heavy heart and dancing feet,

Jess sig.png

what can we do?

Make a donation to the Southern Poverty Law Center or other local Charlottesville organizations that are exposing hate, teaching tolerance, and seeking justice.

This list is not comprehensive, but here are some of the women I’ve followed and learned from as they speak out:
Kelly Diels }
Layla Saad }

Check out these resources if you’re white and want to be an ally:
Safety Pin Box }
SURJ - Showing Up for Racial Injustice }

continue dancing.
continue making art.
continue using your voice to speak out against hatred and to foster love and unity.