It has been, and continues to be a tumultuous time. For some it started four years ago, for others it commenced with a lock down, and for yet others it has been the most recent presidential election.
What I have found most difficult about all of this is the isolation these experiences have created. Not just the physical isolation created by Covid-19, but the isolation created by fear and revealed in anger and hatred.
In our community I have seen and heard of conduct so foreign to the community I entered in 2009, and I keep asking myself why, and I keep returning to one answer- fear. People are afraid- they’re afraid of change, of the unknown, of political positions they don’t understand, of cultures and people they don’t share a similar background with. They’re afraid of what they might lose, of what opportunities they might miss, of the future their children might not see and so they lash out in anger at all those who oppose or challenge them. And yet, what they fail to remember is that we are a community. We rise and fall together. One person’s economic success can open the door for others to succeed. Where one child excels in school, athletics or the arts the reputation of our schools at large benefit. Somewhere in the midst of the last few years our ability to relish in, and cherish the success of our neighbors has given way to selfishness and fear. We, as a community, need an opportunity to connect with our friends and neighbors. We need a space and forum in which we can meet others and connect on equal footing. The arts provide that forum- whether in music, dance, theatre, poetry, painting, or photography- the arts give us a neutral plane on which to meet, talk, learn, discuss and grow. It is very easy to fear the unknown and direct anger at those you don’t know, but it’s much harder to carry those same emotions and direct them at an individual who shares your love of Ella Fitzgerald. KBBAL is a new entity, but it is one that has the ability to help our community heal from the fear and anger that has languished in our community for too long. As an organization rooted in the arts and devoted to community building I hope that it will bring friends and neighbors of all backgrounds and interests together to learn and grow from one another, and maybe even sow the seeds of compassion, understanding, empathy, and friendship in our community at large.
Nov. 18, 2020