• SkunkWorks Dance

Blackout Tuesday #theshowmustbepaused - The Skunkworks Plan of Change

On Tuesday, June 2 Skunkworks participated in #blackouttuesday in solidarity with the dance and music communities canceling all dance classes, meetings and use of music or youtube to dedicate time to strengthen their knowledge on contemporary race relationships and the history of black social, political and economic plight within the US. Also to identify ways Skunkworks can help within the community and find avenues of change.

Through much reading, educating and conversation, here are 5 Skunkworks initiatives and actions that came from Blackout Tuesday:

  1. We committed to and are building a program to train, engage and educate Skunkworks Faculty in the past and contemporary history of black culture, appropriation, social / political / economic injustice and racial bias within dance and society as a whole. Additionally exploring how we can make a difference at our studio and in our communities through staff training and active onboarding programs.

  2. We committed to creating innovative programming and curriculum for our students that educate, explore and engage them in the history and contemporary nature of black culture, appropriation, social / political / economic injustice and racial bias within dance and society as a whole, both through daily dance training and speciality events.

  3. We discussed the terminology and names we use within dance that have often been stolen from black culture, and used without regard to their historical context. We explored how we can both educate and create change within our industry in regards to how we use names and terms.

  4. We committed to bringing in more voices of color for discussion and education with the hope of having Skunkworks be a place of conversation and propeller of change for the community.

  5. In addition to our donations on Monday, we donated Tuesday’s revenue to four incredible black-lead organizations. We encourage if you have the means to do so, join us in supporting these wonderful groups.

Skunkworks Dance Founder, Jana Bennett, stated "This is not enough. There is a lot more work to be done, but we now have a place to start and jump off of with the goal of creating change in the dance and Chicagoland community. Black Lives Matter."

We would love to hear about what you did over Blackout Tuesday and the actions you took. Leave us a comment or send us an email at info@skunkworksdance.com.

Here are the incredible black-lead organizations Skunkworks has donated funds to. We invite you to join us in supporting them:

NAACP: https://www.naacp.org/

Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies: https://jointcenter.org/ UNCF: https://uncf.org/ National Black Chamber of Commerce: https://www.nationalbcc.org/ Fair Fight Action: https://fairfight.com/

National Associate of Black Storytellers: https://www.nabsinc.org/

National Black Child Development Institute: https://www.nbcdi.org/

National Urban League: https://nul.org/

National Council of Negro Women: https://ncnw.org/

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All main photos unless otherwise credited, were taken and edited by Chloe Hamilton. 

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