We shall overcome

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Dear Editor:
Surati for Performing Arts stands in solidarity with our fellow African American artists, performers and community, who have been victims of racism, discrimination and violence over the years, especially here in the United States. The recent events propagating racial injustice and killing of members of the community has moved us all. We are angry and hurting deep inside. We mourn the recent loss of Black American lives and pray for their families.
The repercussion has been unprecedented and while we are well within our rights to raise our voice in peaceful protest, we are stunned by the meaningless violence and looting.
Keeping in mind the current times, we feel the need to call upon our Shakti (power), the inner strength, to stand tall against injustice and inhuman brutality, speak up for the oppressed, minority and underprivileged or spark the guiding light when there is darkness and ignorance. Surati is proud to be a part of the Jersey City Community, which is one of the most diverse cities in the United States. On Tuesday, June 2nd, Surati was proud to stand with its black brothers and sisters at City Hall, Jersey City, during the march against injustice and racial inequality.
As performing artists and community workers, we cultivate empathy in our hearts and feel our guts wrenched when we see humans turn against humans. Violence begets violence and this senselessness must be contained and eventually eliminated. We all need to think and act rationally because it’s a priority right here right now. “America the beautiful” is bleeding and needs our help. Our country needs us now. Let arts show the way.
We have employed artists from diverse social-economic backgrounds, multicultural racial backgrounds and we have demonstrated time and time again that United We Stand.
All Surati performances, festivals and programming, though rooted in Indian culture, highlight and reflect diversity and inclusion. Surati’s essence lies in its “Unity in Diversity – be it through it’s motto of Surati Holi Hai “When everyone is colorful, no one is different”, a festival performance like “In Full Color” – stories by Women of Color, festival performance by an Aztec dance group that highlighted the theme “Colors” or our running musical Ramaavan that included Black Americans along with a multi-ethnic cast transcending borders of racism, gender and inequality.
We hope to continue employing the arts as a powerful medium for explicit communication and vibrant expression, across and beyond racial and cultural differences. However when there is no justice, there can be no peace. And we as artists, need peace to keep creating and making art. This is not a time to be silent and passive.
As the Founder and Artistic Director of Surati, I urge the Indian American Community and the Surati extended family to join us as we ask our larger communities across the United States to be purged of the prejudice, bias and inequity in which it is steeped.
With love, peace, unity and fortitude,
Rimli Roy
Founder & Artistic Director