“There’s strength in numbers” is one of the successful approaches utilized to overcome some of the age-old, systemic roadblocks we encounter as people of color in America.
Institutional racism permeates every facet of our experience. The only way to fight what I call the 3 I’s-intimidation, interrogation and isolation-is to build a coalition of cultural workers in multiple locations who are willing to do their work and this work.
In the world of the arts, specifically the world of dance, racism and discrimination are masked under the guise of an “opened-minded”, “progressive”, “tolerable” framework. This framework can often times be the Jedi mind trick that keeps us struggling to keep our doors open and fresh Marley on our floors. When we are preoccupied with constantly searching for affordable rehearsal and performance space and operating funds, we aren’t focused on the work.
Too often we find ourselves on the outskirts of the influential circles that help us gain access to funding and performance opportunities, financial and organizational sustainability, tenured-track positions at colleges and universities and media coverage.
We can’t and won’t allow our stories to go untold through the dance! We have a difference to make in our communities and the world at large.
The newly-expanded Coalition of Diasporan Scholars Moving, founded by Dance Scholar and Temple University Professor Emeritus Dr. Brenda Dixon-Gottschild, is a group of professional dance artists, scholars and cultural workers.
The CDSM Advisory Board consists of five dance professionals: Dr. Brenda Dixon-Gottschild, Saroya Corbett, Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, Peaches Jones and Lela Aisha Jones.
Advocates of the CDSM are Shannan Smith, Norma Porter Anthony, Denise Saunders Thompson and A. Nia Austin-Edwards.
With a commitment to being a proactive force and advocacy organization that utilizes best practices from the Civil Rights Movement to “trouble the waters” and disrupt discriminatory practices in dance academia, the CDSM will move forward with an aggressive agenda in 2015.
The CDSM Advisory Board Members and Advocates are working to secure funding and utilize their individual projects, brands and social capital to actualize the Coalition’s mission.
Through the CDSM’s budding Ambassador Program, dance professors experiencing intimidation and discrimination, either overtly or covertly, can reach out to the CDSM and be referred to a seasoned dance professor who can give advice on how to navigate such situations.
The CDSM is affiliated with the International Association of Blacks in Dance, and will work with the IABD to secure funding, create a database, secure legal counsel, create awareness around the issues dance professionals face at the collegiate level.
“Like” the CDSM’s Facebook Fan Page for updated information and resources.