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Student Blog: Speaking Up Through Our Art

We must use our voices to create change.

Student Blog: Speaking Up Through Our Art

This is not my normal style, but these are not normal times. Please bear with me.

How did we get here? Why is America regressing? How have there been over 200 mass shootings since January 1st? Why are women's rights being further limited? Why can't we say Gay? If you follow politics or any news outlets, you know what's happening. It's depressing and angering. We are hurting. But we are also artists. We are performers. We are writers. We are directors. We are dancers. We have the power to use our voices in compelling ways. We know how to make people listen. I beg you, when you read the articles, when you see the news, when you find that 22 people have died for nothing, when you get sad and angry: Let Them Know. We can't sit around and let this keep happening. We can't let them take away our rights. We are the next generation. We are the future. We are now. Use your voice and tell them how you feel. Tell them what you want. If you're eighteen or older, vote them out and bring in the people who listen. The people who care. Don't let anyone tell you that your art won't make a difference in the situation. Write your post, make your TikTok, share your poetry. They see that, and they see the rest of us support you. Theatre and the art world has always been a safe space to share our voices and values. Think Rent, A Raisin in the Sun, Newsies, West Side Story, The Prom, etc. Those playwrights and composers shared what they believed, and the world is better for it. Now it's time for us as the next generation to do the same. Find out what is holding you back from creating the art that you truly want and need to make, and address it. Remember that it's okay if your first or even fiftieth attempts aren't what you want them to be. What matters is that you share what is important to you. I am heartbroken over the state of our nation. I am mourning the children of Uvalde. I am terrified about the shooting in my home state of Tennessee. I am appalled that it isn't safe in supermarkets, at graduations, or walking down the street. I am hurt that Ron DeSantis wants to erase my identity. I am furious that people who can't give birth are forcing others to. We don't have the time to grieve one loss before another occurs. This can't keep happening. We are strong, and we have powerful voices. Please stand with me, and use them. In the meantime, please take care of yourself. No one should be expected to go about their lives as normal right now. Your feelings are important. Take the time to think about what you need in the wake of everything that's happening right now. You deserve peace and love.

Stay safe, happy, healthy, and hydrated,

Jana Denning

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