Ori’ dance was an important part of life in ancient Tahiti and was often performed in religious ceremonies, social gatherings, and everyday life. It was used by the Tahitian people to pass down traditions to younger generations so that they can tell the stories of their ancestors. Each individual dance tells a story through hip movements and hand motions.
As a child, I was taught in school that slavery ended in 1865, all thanks to the benevolence and heroism of President Abraham Lincoln. After that, there was some unrest in the 1960s, and Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Fortunately, slavery is now a relic of the past. Now, we know so much better, and every February is Black History Month.
Like most white children who were indoctrinated with this false history, I accepted that I was innocent, and that this history had nothing to do with me.
To imagine new worlds, we need words that reflect our current one. Audre Lorde tells us, “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house,” and I think this is why there is such a proliferation of new language on the left — we are describing forces we have purposefully been given no words to describe — new words to talk about gender, race, and identity — new words to talk about a diversity of internal experiences — new words to talk about the oppressive ways society is organized.
Recently I saw a director of development position at a local organization whose work I respect. The overview paragraph talked about being the face of the organization, building strategic partnerships, preparation of grants, appeals, campaigns, etcetera. Great, I thought. I can do all of that!
In September 2017, I was fired from my role as associate director of Invest in Youth in Seattle because I was outspoken about the organization’s need to diversify their volunteer tutors and board members. My passion for anti-racism work did not align with their investment in the status quo.