CDSS is committed to our core value of Inclusivity. As an arts organization, CDSS understands inclusivity to mean striving to promote cultural equity. Cultural equity embodies the values, policies, and practices of providing equal access to the arts, including our shared dance, music, and song traditions, especially to people who historically have been underrepresented or denied access to those traditions. This means we are working to ensure that everyone who wants to participate in our traditions is empowered to do so with a full sense of belonging and ownership. This also means we are working to educate ourselves on the full history of the living traditions we share, including where and how these traditions have silenced and appropriated ideas from marginalized voices.
But how does this work apply to local dance, music, and song organizations? How do our organizations and events need to change in order to be more equitable? And how do we begin to have these conversations?
Dena Ross Jennings is a human rights activist, musician, instrument-maker, and physician, and brings more than 20 years of experience working on conflict transformation with her organization Imani Works.