273 petitions

This petition won 7 days ago

Petition to Derryl Yeager, Artistic Director, Odyssey Dance Theatre

Ask Odyssey Dance Theatre (Utah) to adapt their rendition of Redux Nut-Cracker

ProblemOdyssey Dance Theatre performer portrayed Asians as head bowing, hands in prayer, tiny stepping stereotypes. ODT dancers dressed in Asian costume in their portrayal of Chinese women.Please note the tiny steps the dancers made in "portraying" Chinese women and remember that, while exaggerated, that way of walking was the result of the practice of "foot binding" which left women with crippling pain, disease and a permanent disability. It was a way of subjugating women into subservience by committing violence against them. Claims of artistic integrity fall flat in the face of ODT's willingness to alter a performance to avoid offending or harming their audience (ODT altered their performance of Thriller in the wake of the murder of a University of Utah student). While we applaud ODT's sensitivity, we also note the hypocrisy in light of the current issue.According to ODT's website, this production of Nutcracker is brought "to life in the present day". Yet, in their interpretation of "present day", they chose to incorporate the cultural insensitivity of the time of the Chinese Exclusion Act and "Yellow Peril".SolutionWe need to demonstrate our unity as a community to state clearly that such portrayals of Asians is intolerable. Please sign this petition to join us in condemning dehumanizing racial stereotypes and ask ODT work with the community to portray Asians in a truthful manner.Personal storyArt can and should be provocative, innovative and seek to push the boundaries of social norms. Odyssey Dance Theatre's portrayal on KSL on November 14, 2018 was none of those things and hopefully does not reflect the views of the ODT Board of Directors. We respect ODT's freedom to present their version as they see fit. We acknowledge and defend their right to maintain it as they wish while retaining our right to, with equal vigor, object to it and to point out the harm that is being done to the Asian & Pacific Islander American community.We are not asking ODT to remove the Tea dance from their performance. We are not saying that the dancers or directors of ODT are racists. They have, however, clearly demonstrated their ignorance of the harm such negative and false stereotypes through their non-apology apology. Regardless of their intent, reinforcing these stereotypes dehumanizes people and reduces them to exaggerated caricatures instead of three-dimensional people. Our shared history is replete of examples of very real harm when we don't see each other as people and single out a group for ridicule and shame. From the Chinese Exclusion Act, the internment of Native Americans and Japanese Americans, human rights have been ignored, dignity sought to be taken and families injured.  We hope that through creativity and cooperation, we can find a way to enhance this performance, not censor it.We accept at their word that it was "in an improvisational moment" and not planned. That said, it is telling that the dancers spontaneously and uniformly adopted the stereotype. Bowing heads, hands in prayer, hopping and taking tiny steps are all false exaggerations. Having the right to do something, doesn’t always mean what you’re doing is right. Michael Kwan                                                Max ChangPresident, CRWDA                                        Spike 150 Foundation On behalf of:Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants AssociationCrystal Young-Otterstrom Asian Association of UtahOCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates - Utah ChapterAsian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA) - Utah ChapterChinese Association of Science & Technology of UtahUnited Chinese Association of UtahUtah Asian Chamber of CommerceJung Hing Lion Dance Association Philippine American Association of Utah (PAAU)Kulturang Pilipino Ensemble of Utah (KPEU)The Vietnamese Community of UtahRepresentative Karen KwanFloyd MoriTerrence ChenSpike 150 FoundationPlan-B TheatreUTAH PACIFIC ISLANDER CIVIC ENGAGEMENT COALITIONPacific Island Knowledge 2 Action Resources (PIK2AR)Utah Chinese Folk OrchestraNAACP - Salt Lake BranchUCLR | Utah Coalition of La RazaUtah State House of Representatives Minority Caucus  

Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association
827 supporters
Update posted 4 weeks ago

Petition to Kellie Stickney, Cherie Harris, Kathy Cummins

Kirkland PD & Chief Harris Must Apologize to Mr. Ragland & Commit to Racial Bias Training

ProblemOn Wednesday November 7th, City of Kirkland Police responded to a call to Menchie's (a frozen yogurt shop) in the Totem Lake area of Kirkland, WA after store employees complained of a "suspicious" man sitting in the yogurt shop. The man in the shop was Byron Ragland, an African-American U.S. Air Force veteran who was simply doing his job—a job he is legally required to do. Mr. Ragland is a court-appointed special advocate and visitation supervisor and he was supervising a mother and her son at Menchie's. The Police officers may have been obligated to show up for the call, but upon realizing that Mr. Ragland was in no way a threat or "suspicious", they should have gone out of their way to make sure Byron felt welcome and they should have acknowledged the mistake by the store employees. According to Mr. Ragland, he was asked by the officers to “move along”. There is no place for racial bias in a police department. The City of Kirkland Police Department and Chief Cherie Harris must act now. *Note: The department has committed to an investigation, but they must be held accountable to acknowledging their mishandling of this situation and to doing everything they can to ensure this never happens again. This event was initially covered by Danny Westneat of the Seattle Times and can be read here. SolutionAs residents of the City of Kirkland and beyond, we demand that the City of Kirkland Police and Police Chief Cherie Harris acknowledge that the situation with Byron Ragland was handled inappropriately by the City of Kirkland Police officers  and that they issue a formal apology to Mr. Ragland. We also demand that the Department commit to enforcing mandatory racial bias training for their officers and to and extend policies that mandate that racial bias is not tolerated. In 2017, the City of Kirkland unanimously voted for--and passed--an ordinance proclaiming Kirkland a "Safe, Inclusive, and Welcoming City for Everyone". The ordinance also mandates that Kirkland's City services "provide everyone in Kirkland – residents, workers and visitors alike – with the full range of City services, including police and fire services, without discrimination regardless of race, ethnicity or immigration status." We acknowledge that the City of Kirkland PD has committed to an investigation into this matter, however, an apology and additional training for officers must happen. Personal storyAs a father of three mixed-race daughters, and the husband of an African-American woman, I refuse to sit by and watch racism and bigotry in our Country, State, and in our City of Kirkland. It's not fair to our friends, families, and neighbors of color for them to have to continue to deal with racism and bigotry. We need to learn from mistakes like this and as a society we need to take steps to make it better. Those of us fortunate to not have to feel the effects of racism cannot begin to understand the sheer pain and hurt it makes its victims live with daily.

Ben Fitzpatrick
867 supporters