national perspectives

Music Cities Convention Memphis

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Memphis Music Initiative was proud to partner with Sound Diplomacy to present the Music Cities Convention in Memphis in October. The conference brought more than 200 people to our city, hailing from 60 cities and 15 countries, to talk about equity and access in a music city. Our own Amand Pugh attended and wrote this […]

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Equity and inclusion ain’t easy – but it needs to happen

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by Sam O’Bryant  Since 2011, I have worked on projects and initiatives that have deliberately and intentionally discussed the role of race and equity in America. My work has included planning regional conferences on racial healing in the American South, hosting community conversations on race in the Delta, and even promoting black male achievement within […]

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Power

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 by Anasa Troutman Last summer, I made public a dream that I had held close to my heart for over 10 years. In a vintage theater on Martha’s Vineyard with no air conditioning, in front of a modest audience of 100 people, I shared my vision of building Shelectricity, a space where black and brown […]

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Leadership is a gift

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  by Kwayera Archer Cunningham  Leadership is a gift to be handled with care, as if a fine piece of porcelain. I have received many awards, acknowledgments, and praise for my leadership, but even more notable than the accolades was the permission of those who allowed me to lead and represent them. Understanding that leadership […]

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Leading with love in schools

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by Allison R. Brown He was 14 years old when the school resource officer hit him so hard in the face, he knocked his front tooth out. This happened at school. It is unclear what the student’s transgression, or supposed transgression, was. I posit that it does not matter. When children go to school, they […]

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No sound barriers

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by Afa S. Dworkin At this critically important time in our nation’s history, equity and inclusion are ever more relevant to our greater society and our beloved field. When words fall short, music and the arts have the capacity to transcend the barriers of culture, race and beliefs, to inspire empathy and the will to […]

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A global movement to change lives through music

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by Eric Booth The beautiful work of MMI (that I praise loudly just about everywhere I go) contributes to a larger field.  This larger field is called by many names—such as creative youth development and arts for change, and social practice arts—but all share the same mission: to provide new life opportunities through highly engaging […]

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Seattle artists and culture workers speak out

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by Lara Davis In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, we see tremendous uprising in cities and states across the Unites States of America.  From student-led walkouts to bank boycotts, marches and rallies for justice, communities are engaging in civil disobedience and movement building – coming together to take action and be heard. Youth […]

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Q&A with Alberto Mejia of Creative Action

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MMI: Let’s start with a bit of background on Creative Action. Tell me about the organization’s work, a little about the history and how/when you became involved. Alberto Mejia: Creative Action’s mission is to spark the emotional, social and academic development of young people through cultural arts and creativity. Owning the fact that I’m relatively […]

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Racial justice as a healing balm

by Kibibi Ajanku About a year ago I was asked to step into the helm of the Baltimore-based Urban Arts Leadership Program. As a long standing community leader and founder of Sankofa Dance Theater, I brought to the table a rich and profound legacy steeped with the use of ethnically charged art to address social […]

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