It can be easy to come to the conclusion that the world is a dangerous and evil place to be. The fear, anger and sadness triggered by multiple mass shootings of the past month are enough to make me want to curl up in a ball under my bed sheets for days. The refinery explosion in Richmond, California, furrows my brow as I worry about the health and well being of friends, colleagues and the communities that call that place home. And this morning a friend of mine commented on how at every turn, from a workplace survey to her casual self-help summer reading, she is being bombarded by unwanted comments about her weight. Negativity seems to be everywhere.
But we know better. After completing weeks of preparation, fundraising, program work and then a big show, Etang and I know from experience that there is more good than bad in this world. Despite hectic schedules, tight budgets and the non-stop demands of daily life, people gave their money, time and talent and made the Girls Raks Bellydance and Body Image Program a great success. We are immensely grateful.
After the Hotter Than July Bellydance Extravaganza, one audience member shared this comment with others, “The costumes and the women dancers were visually stunning. The dancing was great entertainment. Most of all, it was inspiring…I was touched by three young women/girls who got up on stage and gave it their all. I thought they were so brave. There was talk of not hiding your belly but embracing it as a place of power.”
“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” Taking our cue from Albert Schweitzer’s words of hope, Etang and I want to acknowledge the community of people and businesses who stepped up to make sure that this program happened, not only for the girls who participated, but as an example of what is possible if we pull together to shine a light on the good that exists in the world.
So a big-bellied girl thank you goes out to people like our guest speakers Hala, Ahava, Dr. Virginia Frederick, Hatty Lee, Ellisia Hill, Aqueila Lewis and Marilyn Wann, and our interns Thais Rose and Sridevi. We are appreciative of the donations from local businesses like Little Black Egg, Tanjia restaurant, Nanna Candelaria, Raqstv.com, Peets Coffee, Monica McCartney, Title Nine, National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, Shiny Sparkly Things!, The Applied Research Center, Heartwalker Studios and Dreyer’s Foundation. And the contributions of those who performed at the Hotter Than July Bellydance Extravaganza: Masouma Rose, Raks al Khalil, Monica, Shaunte, Shabnam Dance Company, Nanna, Ahava and the mistress of ceremony, Tigress Osborn.
Thank you all. And please, keep shining your light!
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