So you think you can dance #BlackLivesMatter

CN: Police violence

This morning I watched some So You Think You Can Dance, wrapped up in a blanket, and drinking earl grey from my bright yellow mug. As I watched the beginning of a new season of one of the only reality tv shows I truly love, I got feeling all nostalgic. I started remembering favorite dancers, routines that brought me to weeping, the joy and resilience present in the dancers’ faces. I thought about watching the show with my grandparents, and listening to my grandma cheer on her favorites. With popcorn and m&m’s in our hands, and joy in our hearts.

And then this incredible dancer came on my computer screen:


As I watched Sade Keinu Austin dance, I cried. My heart beat Charleena Lyles’ face into my awareness, who was murdered by police after calling for help after a break-in. Black Lives Matter. Black Dreams Matter.

So much of what I see on facebook around #BlackLivesMatter (from my white friends, mainly) is about death, calling out and calling in police, government, white people, culture, and systematic structures to justice, radical change, and to WAKE UP.


As a white person, I have a ridiculous amount of privilege. I am complicit in forms and structures of oppression, racism, and the other-ing that draws harsh and dangerous lines around race. I want to be a part of making things right. A part of changing corrupt and violent systems. A part of life. A part of hope.

So what does a white person crying over So You Think You Can Dance possibly have to do with #BlackLivesMatter?   

I’m going to make a small but bold suggestion to my fellow white people:

IN ADDITION to calling out injustice and calling in people, places, and systems to radical change, justice, and an end to violence against people of color; ALONGSIDE our naming, calling out, expressions of anger, grieving with families and communities; AS WELL as changing our language, lifestyles, acknowledging privilege and working towards change – that we also see, honor, acknowledge, wonder, and celebrate Black lives, dreams, hopes, magic, businesses, views, gifts, and strengths. 

As a white person, I want to celebrate, honor, and learn from people of color. I want to read and listen to your stories. I want to honor your dreams. I want you to have space in this world that is safe, loving, and free. I want to be a part of making that happen as much as I can. I’m not going to get it right all the time, and I want to be held accountable and do better.

This morning, while weeping for all the Black men in the US who have reason to fear for their lives because the color of their skin, I watched Matthew DeLoch Stuns dance, and smile, and dream.


And also, Dustin Payne bringing his magic and personality to the world with such precision and energy:


This is not everything. It’s not the end or the beginning. We’re right in the middle of violent and hateful times. There is much need for action and reflection. For dramatic change – both nationally, within the police system, within the governmental system, and locally and personally.

Today, I’m weeping for Charleena Lyles. For Philando Castile. For TOO many others senselessly killed. I’m weeping for dreams never realized, for magic shut down, for life violently ended too soon.

And also, I want to honor and celebrate the life and dreams of these dancers. To open my heart to become more aware, more alive to, more affected by Black lives, magic, passion, voices, businesses, views, hopes, and dreams.

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