DREAMING A BETTER WORLD, CREATED IN THE SOUTH
“All progress is precarious.” Dr. Martin Luther King, JrAS FALL FADES INTO WINTER AT THE END OF 2012, our nation has been gripped in a rancorous struggle between regressive right wing forces dragging the nation back to the mid-20th century and progressives fighting to move our nation forward by embracing enormous opportunity for positive change in the 21st century. Clearly, the recent result of one of the tightest, most hotly contested Presidential elections in recent memory illustrates just how fragile and how precarious progress can be.
Alternate ROOTS – and its 375 Southern artists and cultural organizers – remain committed to social justice through art and culture. Together, we still look toward the future. Imagine the power and energy of hundreds of creative activists working together to dream a better world where oppression based upon race, religion, ethnicity, gender, ability, class, geography or sexuality is a thing of the past. Imagine building a future created here in the South that calls upon the best of each of us to become more human, human beings and together lead the work to build a better country. As it has been said, as the South goes, so goes the nation.
At Alternate ROOTS we have been creating that new world for more than 36 years now. We are the change we want to see – people of all backgrounds working together. We are black, white, Asian, Latino, Indigenous Americans, Africans. We are Christians, Jews, Muslims, and decidedly unreligious. We are gay, straight, people with abilities and disabilities, old and young, families with children and single. We, too, are the South; this is Alternate ROOTS.
With your help, we will complete this challenge by December 31, 2012. No donation is too small, nor certainly too large.
Alternate ROOTS’ signature event is the Annual Meeting & Artists Retreat. More than 200 artists from all over the South, and as far away as California and New England, attended the 36th Annual Meeting and Artists Retreat in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, August 6-11, 2012. For ROOTS artists and cultural organizers working across a vast region covering fourteen states, from Maryland to Texas, the Annual Meeting is their one opportunity to come together to renew their spirits and connect with others who share their values and commitment to making a difference in their communities.
- “The support I have received from Alternate ROOTS, and the community of people who are ROOTS, has been invaluable to my career as an artist, my growth as a cultural organizer, and my life. I am proud to be a ROOTer, proud of our ever-expanding ROOTS community, and proud of the impact our work has in the world.” ~ Andrea Assaf, ROOTS member since 2000, Tampa, FL
We need your support to continue this vital work. A generous donor has given ROOTS a challenge; every dollar we raise from our supporters will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $12,500.00.
- “I support ROOTS because it is the most real and loving ecosystem of artists and organizations that I have ever had the pleasure to be involved in. I learn, am inspired, and supported. That is why I support ROOTS and why everyone should.” ~ Billy Muñoz, Jump-Start Performance Company, San Antonio, TX
And we have already raised $5,200.
This year we witnessed some stirring performances, videos, and visual arts exhibits at the Annual Meeting. Spirit House, Durham NC, and their stunning performance of Collective Sun, explored the impact of prison and policing on the African American community, …reminding us to love one another even in “pieces and public installments.”
A keynote performance by Robert Karimi, in partnership with The Association of American Cultures, (TAAC), The Cooking Show con Karimi y Comrades, offered a fun filled performance addressing difficult issues of food justice and health disparities in the US from the perspective of an American whose heritage is both Guatemalan and Iranian.
Annual Meeting participants viewed two short documentaries, one by ROOTS member Bailey Barash, Rural People, Rural Power. It was created for the historic Highlander Research and Education Center, New Market, TN, celebrating its 80th anniversary year of social justice and social change work in the South. It reminded everyone that we are in this struggle for the long term. Another featured one of ROOTS’ founders, John O’Neal, that provided an international frame around the work of artists in progressive movements from a global perspective.
The Annual Meeting also offers professional development workshops and seminars to allow participants to share experiences about working in community, and gain key capacity building skills that will sustain them throughout the year.
This gathering is one of the most affordable events of its kind anywhere, $350 for six days of programming, food including three hot meals a day, plus accommodations. But the hard cost for us is more than $600 per person. One of ROOTS’ abiding principles is that no one will be turned away for need. No one. But for so many of our artists and cultural organizers, their income reflects the communities they serve, living on $20,000 per year or less. They can only attend this event that is so central to their work if we are able to offer subsidies and scholarships. Alternate ROOTS relies upon the kindness and generosity of its family of supporters to provide this much needed assistance.
- “As a young artist I was taken to my first ROOTS meeting almost 15 years ago. That is when I realised that everything that has resonated with me as a college student: political awareness, personal storytelling, commitment to your community, art fused with activism and JOY was also here, magnified in the spirit of ROOTS. Full circle. I had come home.” ~ S.T. Shimi, Artistic Director, Jump-Start Performance Company, San Antonio, TX
We need your help. Click on the Action Badge to donate!
- “I support Alternate ROOTS because I believe in the work that the members are doing around the country. The Alternate ROOTS artists, activities, experiences, and connections with the community relate to current issues and social equity. I enjoy sharing, with others, the good works that I’m seeing, hearing and reading about.” ~ Diane Williams, Mississippi Arts Commission
Thank you for your support!
Dan Brawley,Board Chair, Alternate ROOTS
Bob Leonard, Founding Member, Alternate ROOTS
Margo Miller, Executive Director, Appalachian Community Fund
*Alternate ROOTS is a non-profit tax-exempt 501(c) 3 corporation as defined by the IRS; all donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.
*Photos by Melisa Cardona & Journey Brave Photography.