Real Talk, Real Action: The Many Faces of the Baltimore Uprising by Vanessa L. Jackson

img_1465-1A few weeks ago, I had the honor of presenting at the Contemplative Practices in Higher Education Conference at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. My session was interactive by utilizing meditation, movement, music and technology as the basis for inquiry and questioning the differences and separateness in our community today. I began the workshop with a movement and spoken word testimony detailing my personal experience of raising an African American male in today’s society. This and the screening of a student-made video depicting the Freddy Gray Uprising shaped our conversation of what perpetuates a “slavery mentality” towards African Americans.Real Talk, Real Action: The Many Faces of Urban America engaged participants in integrating contemplative practices through open conversations about inequalities and injustices.

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Participants were challenged to reexamine their core beliefs about the slogan,  “Black Lives Matter” through a more meaningful and mindful self-assessment of their own inner core beliefs about compassion towards African American mothers and their children, and the plight of the African American community.  By approaching an intellectual discourse about real issues and real actions through an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural, approach, participants constructed an inclusive and transformative pedagogy.

As the Arts Integration Coordinator for Arts Every Day, I look forward to sharing more of my passion for dance, contemplative practice, and culturally responsive art making with the Arts Every Day family. Stay tuned for more workshops and professional development opportunities throughout the year by signing up for our newsletter!

For more information on contemplative practices http://www.contemplativemind.org/programs/acmhe

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