first workshop today with youth in prison in Belgium. no other place i'd rather set off this tour. from our Ed Unit of A New Black Arts Movement the Urban Art Beat wing, prefiguring our presence at Rikers to now here. makes sense. what doesn't make too much sense are the uncomfortable parallels of reality. today's population, "youth of color" i don't use this term, however to unify and relate. some could say or would say oppressed youth. these are maroon youth. specifically from Morocco, Iraq, Cape Verde, Slovakia etc. not an anglo european serving time that we have encountered in this facility. sounds like home. a few of the youth asked me today "would i be accepted if i went to New York" (being that they were or would be identified as muslim. what? i told them brother, my brother. everyone of you in this space are welcomed. we/us. you look like our community therefore you are. we do not see those differences as problematic. we see those differences as common in our place of growing and being. it is those with institutional power that would discriminate and give you a hard time. you will not find these sentiments where i stay. that is my international word. they smiled and we continued.
the deeper concern for me, why does this excite me. why did i look forward to this workshop more than most i've done? why, when touring the most unfortunate, uncomfortable, unappreciated spaces and places i dive into, i cherish the most? i love my people. i love this work. i do not want this to continue, so why look forward.
the reality of purpose.
thank you for your connections, translations and facilitation Dorien De Vidts. for seeing where we need to be continuously and keeping our tours unorthodox, funky and keeping our middle finger up to the systems that oppress the divinity within us all.