Dear Friends,

Today, we honor our nation’s tradition of transferring power to a newly and fairly elected president, Joseph R. Biden, Jr. We celebrate this moment as our country’s first Black, Asian-American, and female Vice President, Kamala Harris, is also inaugurated, despite efforts by an insurgency of violent white supremacists to upend our democracy. And so we must face the deep wounds of racism that accompany and diminish our joy. Continuing steps toward systemic change require a commitment to facts and truth, honest reflection, brave dialogue, and real accountability. We at Dancing Classrooms expect nothing less from our leaders and institutions and are committed to modeling that behavior for our students and stakeholders.

As an organization dedicated to empathy, respect, and safe spaces for all, we work every day with young people to build mutual understanding and love for our differences through social dance. Research demonstrates the arts cultivate civic engagement by opening doors for expression and driving important conversations. Take a look at some of these powerful findings from Americans for the Arts above. At this time in the history of our country, the arts are critical to our path forward.

But we know we need to go further to ensure equity for the BIPOC and other marginalized children we serve. Dancing Classrooms is undergoing our own self-assessment and anti-racism training as staff, teaching artists, and board members to help us identify our blind spots and continue to grow as allies for justice. This process requires time and patience and we look forward to sharing more details about our progress with you in the coming months.

Here’s to a peaceful Inauguration Day and a healthy 2021 for all!

Nancy Kleaver
Executive Director, Dancing Classrooms