Director of Community Action, Yasemin Ozumerzifon, and Senior Company Director, Amy Miller, recently traveled to El Paso, Texas to connect with local artists and activists. Read more about their trip below.
Bringing the power of the arts to communities across borders
We traveled to El Paso, Texas, near the border with Juarez, Mexico, for a week of working together with artists, activists, social workers, students, and community organizers. In partnership with Institute for Improvisation and Social Action and our champion, Paola, we were able to connect communities to work together, share ideas, and build upon our strengths.
We started the residency with a workshop around arts and social justice at the University of Texas, El Paso. The workshop was followed by a contemporary dance class led by Amy Miller. A total of 70 students gathered, who were eager to learn, share, and exchange.
Our first workshop was with Center of Hope, an organization which is dedicated to eradicating human trafficking and its effects in the region through advocacy, training, direct survivor services, and collaboration. We shared Gibney’s four-part model with their staff and dialogued about why movement matters.
On Sunday, we facilitated a workshop at the El Paso Library with participants from both Juarez and El Paso. Most participants were meeting for the first time. It was powerful to witness this strong community develop around a shared belief in the power of arts and social justice. With support from Paola, this newly discovered community will continue to meet, support one another, and exchange resources.
We had the pleasure of sharing our work in depth with The Cattleya Project. For the past four years, they have brought movement, improvisation, and play to intimate partner violence survivors in Juarez. So much to chew on from this conversation.
Our last workshop was with Center Against Sexual and Family Violence. 18 staff members experienced our movement workshop. They are eager to bring this work to their clients through The Cattleya Project.
Thank you El Paso, thank you Juarez, and thank you Paola!
PS… We met Beto O’Rourke on our way back!