Event Date Details:
Two Event Dates! No RSVP or Tickets required, please do plan on arriving early to secure your seat.
Lety Garcia, Programs and PR Manager
Still We Rise is a collaborative performance showcasing art, music, dance, theater, and poetry. Performed by UCSB students, Poet Rick Benjamin, Ph.D., and choreographed by Professor Monique Meunier, the evening will be an abstract examination on immigration and DACA including a scene from the upcoming LAUNCH PAD play Staging the Daffy Dame directed by Professor Risa Brainin. The performances are dedicated to all of the Dreamers amongst our student population here at UCSB.
"As we face the turmoil and uncertainty of immigration, we strive to protect minors who were brought to this country through no fault of their own. They are a group of young people that have been educated and raised here in the U.S. They are Americans who only lack legal recognition. For those of us that live here, we have to understand we are all immigrants and compassion is vital. For the ones with hostile rhetoric and pointing fingers, if we just point it to ourselves, you too can say 'I was an immigrant’.
I hope to offer a valuable landscape and bring to surface the necessity for an intercultural society and need for diversity. As a daughter of immigrants, my work expresses the hopes and strength, love and passion, and fear and uncertainty immigrants face as they strive for a better life. I hope that this evening will bring us together and understand that we are all here for a reason and deserve respect, kindness, empathy, and humanity. We must help our friends in need and continue the fight for immigration, DACA, and the Dreamers, now more than ever."
Professor Monique Meunier, Department of Theater and Dance
impactmania intern, Nicollette Juchum, reviews Still We Rise!
In response to recent events, the AD&A Museum and UCSB’s Theater and Dance Department’s, Professor Monique Meunier, hosted Still We Rise, an artistic accumulation of Professor Rick Benjamin’s poems, scenes from Professor Risa Brainin’s Staging the Daffy Dame, and Prof. Meunier’s own choreography and music selections. The event successfully displayed a poignant and artistic social commentary on the negative sentiments directed to immigration and DACA. DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, allows minors entering the country to remain safe from deportation. DACA’s distribution of a temporary social security number allows those minors to enroll in school and work.With political policies striving for removal of these pro-immigration programs, communities work against this growing distaste towards immigrants. Prof. Meunier’s Still We Rise event was one of many collaborative efforts to raise awareness for immigrant support. Looking through the diverse crowd at the AD&A Museum on both nights of the event, it can be said that, there are supporters everywhere. Seats filled with attentive spectators watching the men and women representing those affected by the current political climates.
The daughter of two immigrants herself, Prof. Meunier had a personal connection to this event. The music played by the violinist and cellist created a melancholy tone, arising feelings of struggle and sadness for the audience. Starting the event with a scene from the play, Staging the Daffy Dame, performed students in Prof. Brainin’s class, two actors performed a piece that revealed the fear and complexity of an undocumented person. This scene outlined the night, telling viewers, the real problems currently recognized. The music coupled with the interpretive dances epitomized the feelings of anguish present in struggling newcomers to the United States. Prof. Meunier explained the tone of this music and dance to be one that, “made [the crowd] feel the feelings I felt as a little girl, the anxiety, the fear, the hope, depression.” The spoken poetry as read by Prof. Benjamin furthered the overall theme of the struggle faced by immigrants. Reciting two of his own poems, as well as “Prospective Immigrants Please Note” by Adrienne Rich, “At the Cemetery at Walnut Grove Plantation, South Carolina, 1989” by Lucille Clifton, and ended with a piece by Nelson Mandela. Prof. Benjamin stirred the audience, raising issues in the poems that addressed those that were demeaned, silenced, and frightened due to current events.
All the contributors to this event wanted those present to have, “more awareness of what it would be like to feel threatened” according to Prof. Brainin, to “leave with a double consciousness and a greater understanding for multiple perspectives” as mentioned by Prof. Benjamin, and as stated by Prof. Meunier, “to embrace diversity because it is what makes us powerful.” Concluding this event, the dancers collectively recited a poem by Maya Angelou, Still I Rise, the inspiration to the title of the event, Still We Rise, and the event itself. The dancer’s final collective exclamation of “I rise” reminded those present that through the trials and tribulations, progress will come.