An open letter concerning the death of George Floyd

Dear friends of Just Add Rhythm,

Considering the horrific and senseless acts of violence, rioting, and looting surrounding the death of George Floyd, I, like many others, feel compelled to speak.

We can no longer avoid uncomfortable conversations around racial injustice.

While I prefer our communications with you to be inspiring, educational, and filled with joy, I understand that everyone is getting weary.  This year has piled one thing on top of another for our country and our planet.

As an individual, I acknowledge that I have benefited from white privilege in my lifetime.  Although in the past I have traveled to African countries and learned what it’s like to be in the minority, I can never fully understand what it’s like to be Black in America.  While I have experienced bullying, teasing, and minor incidences of gender discrimination, that doesn’t come close to what people of color have had to endure in our country over so many generations.

As a mother, I am called to do better and be better, to set an example for my son, and ensure that he grows up a compassionate, empathetic, and open-minded individual.

As a small business owner, I acknowledge that I have had an easier path than some in starting my business, and receiving help and support from friends, family, and community members – surely easier than many entrepreneurs of color who may have had to do more with less.

Here is my promise to you, my dear friends and colleagues:

  • I will listen and learn. Starting with Student Maid founder Kristen Hadeed’s book suggestions on systemic racism in the wake of George Floyd’s death, I’m going to embrace the uncomfortable and learn how I can become a better ally to people of color. I’m also learning about the work of the Center for the Study of Social Policy.  What additional resources do you recommend? How else can I learn? Please let me know.
  • Just Add Rhythm’s mission is to work with all ages and backgrounds of people to introduce the joys and benefits of rhythm to them. We’ve created a mini series of recorded interactive sessions for children ages K-5th called Best Beats, which focuses on mindfulness, empathy/compassion, teamwork, and community. It is our intention and responsibility to provide opportunities for the next generation to access these important skills and qualities and reinforce love over hate one child at a time.  In fact, all our programs, both in-person and virtual, emphasize these qualities for every population and age group we serve.  They always have, and they always will.
  • I will use my voice when the situation calls for it. When I’m confronted with hate speech or close-mindedness, I will call it out.  When there is an opportunity to share credible information, I will do it.  If all you need is a smile, a word of encouragement, or a sympathetic ear, I’ve got those too.

I am here for you.  Just Add Rhythm is here for you.  We will continue to share the joy of rhythm that unites all human beings, the rhythm that beats in everyone’s chests, the rhythm that flows in every part of nature throughout our planet.

Will you join us?  Please reach out and let us know how we can support you, your loved ones, your company, or your community through rhythm.

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