Posted by Deborah Holmes
What a week it’s been for the arts, especially spoken word. The mini -movement was led by two formers. First, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin held a farewell "slam" to thumb her nose at critics. Then , former Trekkie William Shatner, turned Palin's bad poetry into beat poetry. I must say, this was decent, especially the bongos. But I digress. The universal language of the arts - music, theater, dance, film/video etc. -- really can give voice to the struggle for human rights and build movements for civil societies.
From Afghanistan to the U.S., the arts can transform people and governments. Global Fund for Women grantee partners are using the arts to change the world, one community at a time. Healing the wounds of rape and other forms of gender violence against women and training future activists.
Consider Kolkata Sanved in West Bengal, India where dance movement therapy is used as an alternative approach to counseling, expression and empowerment. Or Theater Aquarium in Morocco. There public performances are used to educate people about their basic human rights; thereby shifting traditional beliefs. Thanks to the music theater of Alas de Mariposa ("Wings of the Butterfly") in Costa Rica, a new generation of women leaders are emerging from their cocoons to take their place at the decision-making table.
Truth is, the arts have ties that bind--in a good way. They can make us believe in a better day, a better way and a better place. I've seen it happen. Sitting in the Lyric Theater in Kansas City, MO, watching 100+ AileyCampers - considered lost causes by teachers, ignored by family, on a path to nowhere and no good - on stage dancing, drumming, telling their life stories -- in a real poetry -- and declaring, "I am somebody!"
Art is the breath of life.
Deborah Holmes is the vice President of Communications for the Global Fund for Women.