I was for the first time consciously observing how the city and many parts that I frequented were beginning to physically change and reflecting on what that meant to me. I do not want it to read as a sense of hopelessness, because I see it as an awakening of sorts; it gave me the chance to really reflect on what was happening in my community and learn to better advocate against inequitable development.
“Institutionalized,” a spoken word performance
This piece was written as a response to feeling that, most of my life in the arts, I’ve been made to feel that arts organizations and their products were not made for me and that it was an honor, a luxury, to even experience them. As a queer Mexican-Statesian who earned a Bachelor of Music, a Master of Arts in Arts Administration, and who now works in fundraising for an opera company, it seemed that no matter what art form I consumed or participated in, there was always this weird dichotomy that they wanted me because of the fact that I was queer, and/or brown, and/or young — but then they never made the effort to continue that relationship beyond that first visit or even because of that.
When white-centric organizations and philanthropists impose their vision of action in fighting systemic racism, it can be detrimental to the actual work needed to create reform. Context and history is important. Abdul Ali reached out with the idea of writing and performing a spoken word poem that addresses this very topic, created just for CCF. Read and watch the performance of the poem, “Philanthropy.”