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When anti-racism brings us to our feet

May 26, 2016

Entry by Elyse Urbonas
Staff writer

Emotions flooded the room on Thursday, April 28 as we hosted the Stand Against Racism event “HEAR OUR VOICES” at Living Arts of Tulsa. Roughly 120 participated in the event; the energy in the room was undeniable. 

Upon entering the room it was evident that the night would be powerful. When the Emcee for the evening, Written Quincey, stood on the stage to begin, there was a hushed anticipation amongst the crowd. When he spoke, the power and command in his voice made clear that this would be a night where the voices, experiences, emotions, struggles and reflections of the marginalized would be heard loud and clear. Let me share with you a few of the performers and the greatness they brought to our Stand.

Kelli Mcloud-Schingen reminded us through poetry and spoken word that blackness is beautiful, it is something to be celebrated and it is the fight and struggle that has pushed America towards its ideals of equality.  However, she also reminded us that blackness is not yet free; blackness is oppressed, and it is appropriated when it deserves to be celebrated.

Jos Massad showed us the human face of the global refugee crisis and the racism, discrimination and prejudices that refugees and their children face all over the world. 

Chief Egunwale Amusan spoke of the relation between prejudice and power that oppresses our communities of color. And through a home video from a handheld camera he showed us the risk that is taken and the price that is paid by himself and so many young African American men and women when they choose to peacefully protest racism in their community and are brutalized by the same police that are sworn to protect them.

Through song, performing art, poetry, spoken word, storytelling and even improve, roughly 120 people came together to heal.  And by the end of the night, we were unified in our strength and tenacity to take the power of this Stand into our communities and continue our Stand Against Racism daily.

Although our Stand events are over, here are five things you can do to keep the Stand going!

1.)    You can go to StandAgainstRacism.org and take the pledge. Simply click “about” then “take the pledge,” you will then be prompted to enter your address and pledge to eliminate racism. This is forwarded to every elected official from your city councilor to the President of the Unite States!

2.)    Watch and share the National Day of Action policy briefing, focusing entirely on girls of color this year.

3.)    Explore the unfamiliar. Attend an organization meeting, religious service or travel to a new region where you are in the minority. For example, if you are Christian, attend a Jewish service at a synagogue. If you attend an all-white suburban school, visit a school in a community of color. This first-hand experience can be enlightening and give you perspective – just beware of cultural tourism.

4.)    Think before you speak. Words can hurt, whether you mean them to or not. When describing a person, think if mentioning their race is important to the story. Do you call everyone from Central or South America as Mexican? Some people prefer African American, while others like Black. Some prefer Latino/a, others like Hispanic. If you’re unsure, ask. Using the correct language is important.

5.)    Support anti-racist organizations like YWCA Tulsa! Whether your efforts are in volunteering, financial donation or being an advocate, working with others toward the same goal can be beneficial to you and the community. You’ll meet great people and find real support for your efforts. By getting involved, your voice can make a big difference at the local level.

For those of you who do not know or unfamiliar, Stand against Racism is a national YWCA movement promoting racial justice and building community among people seeking to eliminate racism in our lifetime.

This year, more than 250,000 people were slated to participate in more than 700 Stands in 46 states. The 2016 Stand against Racism theme was “on a mission for girls of color.” Interested in learning more? Visit, www.StandAgainstRacism.org or contact us to learn how we can support you on your journey toward racial justice.  

And of course a special shout-out to all our incredible performers!

Performances:

·         Warrior Sisters video- Warrior Sisters

·         Anthony Brinkley

·         Mia Wright

·         Ryan Howell

·         Kelli Mcloud-Schingen

·         Dave Harland

·         Jos Massad

·         Marianne Evans -Lombe

·         Tyler Harrison

·         Rosa Evans-Lombe

·         Chief Egunwale Amusan

·         Acoustic Frieght Train- Sean Moore

·         Orisabiyi Oyin Williams

·         David Ruffin

·         Damian Rozell

·         Phetote Mshairi

·         Deborah Hunter

·         Superovum

·         Toni Willis

·         Natalie Large

·         Written Quincey

·         Matthew Edwards

·         David Smith

·         Keith Huckabay

·         Justin Flaming

A special thanks to all our sponsors

·         American Airlines

·         Commerce Bank

·          Indian Health Care,

·         La Semana

·          The University of Tulsa,

Also, a special thanks to our curators:

·         Branda Piersall

·         Tony B

·         David Ru­in

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