What do I do with my power?

A 21 year old white male shoots and kills 9 peaceful African American churchgoers.

An ill-informed group equates racial appropriation with the transgender experience.

A town strong-arms a decision to turn a public green space into a parking lot.

Injustice takes many forms. In the face of such selfishness, bigotry, hatred, ignorance and disrespect, I feel small and powerless. I feel the cynicism that has come to be such a regrettable hallmark of my generation. I feel like the only “right” reaction is to cry out, thrust out the picket sign, and place myself on national television to decry the degradation that has overtaken our societies. And in the same breath I know that that is not me.

So what do I do from my place of privilege? What do I do with the skill set and passions that I possess? (Some days I feel as though I have no skills at all but a bullheaded will. Even if that were true, wouldn’t it be enough to make some small change?)

Dancing is one of those forms of power and privilege. The fact that I have the free time, available transportation, and expendable income to spend on dancing is a manifestation of my privilege. Communities of dancers are often communities that can wield significant social, economic, and political power.

Some may question whether social change should be the responsibility of social dance groups. I say, if not here, then where? Where do we draw the line between our pleasurable activities and the activities that “really matter?” Equality, justice, and integrity should fundamental to all aspects of our lives – at least, these are things I strive for. For me, this includes both inner and outer expressions of rebellion, community, and integral values. Communities of any kind are compilations of individual power, and can be used to make positive change in our world.

I am inspired by authors who use fantastical settings and compelling characters to explore our societal ills.

I am inspired by dancers who believe that we can blend pleasure with powerful change.

I am inspired by advocates and ninjas and providers who put it all on the line for what they believe in.

What are you inspired by? What do you do with your power?

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