Cape Town Swing Diversity & Inclusivity
Recently, a few of us on the Cape Town Swing Team had a call to exchange some thoughts about diversity and inclusivity in the Cape Town Swing scene. The ongoing global protests for Black Lives Matter (sparked by the murder of Black citizens at the hands of police) have fuelled conversations about race, racism and diversity in our scene and in swing dance scenes around the world.
We’re acutely aware of the lack of diversity (in terms of race, age, sexuality and gender) in the Cape Town Swing scene—among dancers, organisers, teachers and visiting artists. It’s something that we’ve been sensitive to from the start, but have not known what steps to take. Admittedly, we have not prioritised this as much as we should have, and going forward, this will be a priority. While we’ve made some efforts to create a safer and more inclusive community (through our Safer Spaces task team, and by promoting a welcoming ethos in our class and social environments), we acknowledge that we have a long way to go. Transforming our scene warrants increased attention, planning and action. We move forward with a commitment to centering BIPOC voices, dancers, teachers, histories, heroes.
While there is a temptation to lay out a specific ‘plan of action’ as an organisation, we feel that it is particularly important for us to listen to other voices, especially a diversity of voices both in and outside of our community. Together, we can make decisions as a community.
Whether you’ve only ever been to one swing dance class or party, or whether you’ve been part of the community for years: your voice is important. We especially value the contributions of those who are less-often represented in the scene. We want to discuss radical inclusivity, anti-racist activism and allyship. Your contributions to this conversation will be welcomed with gratitude, as we do the work to transform our community and organisation.
Would you like to join the conversation?
Our next meeting on Cape Town Swing Diversity & Inclusivity will take place on Tuesday 16th June at 7:30pm on Zoom. We’re aware that it’s a public holiday (Youth Day), and we hope that you can join us anyway!
To help encourage productive conversations where everyone feels heard, we will decide on communication guidelines before starting the discussion, and Jes Ferguson will facilitate the meeting.
Once you’ve registered, you’ll be sent an email with the meeting link. See you online!