negothick: (Charlotte)
[personal profile] negothick
One blue sky above us
One ocean lapping all our shore
One earth so green and round
Who could ask for more
And because I love you
I'll give it one more try
To show my rainbow race
It's too soon to die.   --Pete Seeger

Moving outside my usual mode of apocalypticism, a hopeful entry for a change. My band Klezmenschen played the other night for a local K-5 elementary school's "Multicultural Night." The school is located in the town's poorest neighborhood, where a flood of new immigrants have taken over the houses built for millworkers in the 19th century--but without the jobs or paternalism provided by the long-shuttered mills. Where once the only second language was Canadian French, now it's Haitian Creole. The instructions and introductions by the evening's organizer were repeated by a parent in Creole and another parent in Spanish. These represented the majority of the students. No one attempted Chinese or (for one tiny solemn girl in costume) Tibetan. Parents brought food of their lost homes or generic American--all was happily devoured. Folk dancers performed to recorded music. Troupes of Puerto Rican, Mexican, and Peruvian girls danced choreographed and costumed numbers--really well!, and one brave boy from Brazil danced a solo. Several high school girls from Haiti, graduates of this school, gave us trance-like moves reminiscent of Katherine Dunham's stylized dancing in this video--not surprising, given her research in Haiti.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSTuO5E9_1g


I know it's a cliche, but the children gave me such hope for the future. All so beautiful, eyes so bright; they were the best audience we've had--some getting up from tables and plopping themselves on the gym floor to listen raptly to our music, others spontaneously dancing in circles. Respectfully watching and listening to all the dancers and singers of our rainbow race. They seemed really at ease with their teachers, who knew every child's name and their parents as well. I saw happy faces light up as they greeted the principal--a white man who looked like a child to me, though I assume he's over 30.

Yes, I know it was a special night, and everyone may have been on "best behavior," but it was wonderful while it lasted. It is how America ought to be, nothing to do with the dystopia represented by our current government.
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