JuneTeenth, & A Dance-A-Thon
I've never considered myself 'an activist' before. But looking back, I've never been too far off.
I've been donating to charities monthly since I was 18 (UNICEF, Green Peace, Planned Parenthood, and others), and I once used my first-ever email address (luv2dance14) to write a scathing email to Bill Gates that he should share his billions with countries of high-poverty and starvation, in 5th Grade. I became a vegetarian my second year of college, influenced by a philosophy teacher who assigned the work of Peter Singer. Usually more focused on the health and joy of food, I forget sometimes that diet is a form of activism, although I don't petition for others to follow my lead. I just keep quiet and make a lot of food for my friends.
In recent years, sharing almost ANY cause you're passionate about can really fire up the trolls, but so far I've been lucky.
Honestly, today I feel the luckiest I've ever felt to be championing a movement greater than myself at a time when it can truly gain steam, and when the people who know me respect me enough to listen in. Maybe it's because they know I won't be upset and we will still be on good terms if they don't participate in what I'm pushing for. Because you're human beings, with a lot on your plates and a lot in your hearts, and I respect waiting to do things until you feel truly called in the right way, and I know that kindness and compassion start with the moments and the people right in front of you--so if you're more focused there, do you, my friend. I see you in my mind's eye with love, whether we disagree or act out of alignment with each other's expectations. To stay focused on my goals and causes and passions is going to require I relinquish control of what anyone thinks of them. Some days I'm better at this than others, admittedly, but I'm going to keep getting better at it. :)
All that said, if you're interested in participating in/learning about my Juneteenth dance-a-thon, read on!
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865: the emancipation of all slaves from the US Confederacy. It is also known as Emancipation Day or Liberation Day, and sometimes celebrated as an alternative Fourth of July (because it represents actual freedom for all United States citizens). This Juneteenth is an important one, because we are in the midst of unprecedented peaceful protests calling for the end of systemic racism: launched and fortified over hundreds of years of African slavery and propped up through institutional segregation and oppression, the latter still rampant (and largely unpublicized) in our society today. Yes, these are difficult times full of inciting debate and tragedy unearthed on a grand scale. Yet, hope is far from lost. The movement has gained more traction than ever, and rippled through the decisions of policymakers, companies, celebrities, and consumers.
This Juneteenth (tomorrow), help show your support for Black life and Black equality by supporting Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs and trusted Black-led organizations.
Not sure how or where to start? I invite you to check out what I'm up to:
DANCERS & DANCE APPRECIATORS: Tune in and donate to the Black Love Matters Move-A-Thon. It's an all day movement workshop led by some of the best dancers in the industry. The classes are short and designed to accommodate movers of all levels. Get to know some incredible, industry-leading talent. Take a class or two yourself or tune in to my Instagram where I'll be live streaming between 9am and 9pm. Watch me try my hand at 14 different dance styles! All proceeds will be split equally between: the NAACP, Black Lives Matter, the International Association of Blacks in Dance, and the Loveland Foundation. Venmo @blklovematters (ANY amount counts), or Canadians can donate directly to any or all of the foundations above!
Other Juneteenth options:
Look up Black Owned businesses near you using websites like: supportblackowned.com (United States) or afrobiz.ca (Canada). Style Bee also wrote up this amazing resource for Canadian Black Owned skin care, fashion, and makeup brands, with even more Black Owned websites to browse.
Check out my friend, Gaylyn Lareese's Youtube page for dancers/entrepreneurs and company: Motion Prep. Gaylyn teaches choreography, leads amazing workouts/stretches, and guides you through all kinds of useful info for artists and people looking to grow their brand or start a company. Like me, she has gained an organic following and traction by putting out consistent content for months (she started uploading weekly Youtube videos last September, and hasn't stopped). Her talent and wisdom and work ethic know no bounds. Support Gaylyn with clicks, likes, and subscribes, or by checking out her made-for-dancers products via the Motion Prep website.
Or simply: share this blog or any of its links.
Do it your way, and don't be shy! Share with me on social media or in a direct message. Let's celebrate Black culture and the growing strength behind the Civil Rights Movement. Let's dance and donate and lift each other up. You are utterly loved and appreciated. Thank you for reading and participating in your own way. :)