NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Youth Alive accompanied by musicians and members of the Berkshire Jewish Community performed a musical tribute to artist Nick Cave’s exhibit "Until" at Mass MoCA.
"Commit to disrupting hate," Dennis Powell, President of the Berkshire Chapter of the NAACP said during opening remarks before the "Until: Unity" performance at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art Thursday.
"Acceptance, fundamentally, is a personal decision. It comes from an attitude that is embraceable, a belief that every voice matters, that all people are valued and that no one is less than."
Youth Alive, a dance group focused on empowering youth of color in the Pittsfield region joined clarinetist Paul Green, vocalist Wanda Houston, tubist Eli Newberger, and members of the Berkshire Jewish Community in Nick Cave’s massive installation that explores issues of gun violence, gun control policy, race relations, and gender politics in America today.
Powell reflected on the recent events in Charlottesville Va. and read a list of ten ways to combat hate.
"Many of us don’t understand there are many of us that can’t differentiate between a hate crime and just a bias," he said. "There is a lot of education that needs to take place in order for us to combat this."
Dara Kaufman of the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires also provided remarks and said she had to change her prepared remarks after last weekend’s events in Virginia.
She said when her daughter first visited the Nick Cave exhibit she ran through the maze of wind spinners but stopped when she came upon a spinner shaped like a gun.
"I told her at first you see this magical dazzling display but once you are inside of it there are things that as Cave puts it are not so pretty like the guns, the targets and the tears," she said.
"This is a concept in Jewish thought: Tikkun Olam which translates to repair the world. It’s inherent in this concept that the world is broken and in need of repair and as Jews we are commanded to do that work."
Before starting the performance where attendees were urged to join in on the Hora, Kaufman asked everyone to mirror Cave’s exhibit and reflect light into the dark corners of the world.
"Let our dance here today also reflect the light of love, tolerance, respect, acceptance, and justice," she said. "Let us dance for every person that has ever faced darkness and let us help that light shine further and brighter until it fills every dark corner where hate and bigotry live."
The performance is the culminating event for the Community Call and Response project around "Until." The Community Call and Response project is intended to engage local community groups with the exhibit to promote dialogue within and across group boundary lines.
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