Anti-Racism and Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access Efforts

As an organization built around dance forms with African diasporic roots and American social dance branches, anti-racism efforts must also be central in our work. While we give intent focus to anti-racism, we understand these efforts to be inherently intersectional, and goal for our efforts in these areas to also help lead toward inclusion, diversity, equity and access (IDEA) for all in light of other areas of humanitarian justice, like climate change and gender-based violence.

Our current anti-racism efforts include amplifying the voices of Black, Indigenous and Artists of Color through choreographic, performance, teaching and learning opportunities, including resources in our communications and statements of awareness in our event programs, partnering with organizations like Hopewell Music North (with whom we are working to expand access to jazz music and dance on the Northside of Minneapolis), and donating as reparation a portion of our income as an organization to the International Association of Blacks in Dance.

We understand bettering this work as an ongoing journey on which we are dedicated to being. We always welcome feedback, and appreciate the care and labor put into sharing such thoughts.

In Response to the Killing of George Floyd and
In Calling for the Development of Anti-Racist Perspectives (6/4/20)

Image by Andresito Guzman 

Dear Rhythmically Speaking Community,

We hope you are safe, connecting with community and practicing self care.

We at RS are heartsick by the murder of Mr. George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. His death is the result of ongoing injustices that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in our community face.

The immense losses of life and livelihood compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic have further revealed the realities of systemic racism. We see our community’s pain and we grieve with you. We commit to fighting to end the violence inflicted on BIPOC and to work toward justice. 

The work is hard and it is ongoing, and for us, includes continued and further examination of how our organization can operate with and further anti-racist perspectives and actions. As an organization built around dance forms with African and Latin diasporic roots and branches, this work is not only related, but central to our mission and the values with which we strive to operate.

The work is hard and it is ongoing. You can expect to see more from us in the coming weeks and months as we shift our programming in ways that address the public health crises of both Covid-19 and racism. We’re trying, and we’d like to try with you to build our collective, current efforts into sustained habits. That’s why we’ve included the ‘Join Us in Taking Action’ section below as a call on our collective humanity.

Our hearts are with Mr. Floyd’s family and friends and BIPOC everywhere, and our heads are full with possibilities for how we can remake our world together to be a place in which all can thrive.

March on,

Erinn Liebhard
RS Advisory Panel:
Luther Bell, Hannah Elias, Kristine Frank Elias,
Brian J. Evans and Kristoffer Olson
(+ auxiliary members Janette Davis and Zoe Sealy)
RS Artists

Join Us in Taking Action:

Write and call your elected officials to ask them how they are addressing systemic racism:

  • local government contact search
  • Minneapolis Residents – Mayor Jacob Frey: (612) 673-2100
  • Hennepin County Residents – District Attorney Mike Freeman: (612) 348-5550
  • Minnesota Residents – Velma J. Korbel, Director of MN Department of Civil Rights: (612) 673-3012

Support organizations fighting systemic racism:

Additional resources:

Thank you to Young Dance, the Bell Museum, The Victoria Theater, Springboard for the Arts and the US Department of Arts and Culture for the resource ideas and foundational language.