Representation Matters

Representation Matters

The OCC Staff and Board believes diversity and inclusion is what makes the Omaha Metro Area great. For our 2018-2019 Season, we’ve asked members of the Omaha Community who are dedicated to community engagement why representation matters to them. You can track their responses throughout the season here, or follow our hashtag #representationwednesday on our social media platforms.

 
 
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Amanda Stevenson

“Our young people’s experiences shape what the imagine to be possible for them…they shouldn’t have to use their imagination to see where they want to be in the future.”

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LaShonna Dorsey

“Representation matters because one of the best ways for people to believe they can achieve something they never thought possible is to see examples of others like them who have had success before them. This is certainly true in my career. I have been fortunate to have access to great examples of local women in leadership who have mentored me by sharing their time, talent, and wisdom with me. I intend to continue to find opportunities to do the same for others.”

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Dominique Morgan

“Representation matters because until you SEE it you really don't think it can happen. Growing up as a young queer artist of color looking at the artist landscape and not seeing anyone who looked like me made me wonder if my dreams were possible. My goal now is to be that visible example for those coming after me.”

 
 
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Sophia Potter

“Representation in music is important to me, as a musician, a music educator, and a die-hard fan of classical music. I want to see orchestras, chamber ensembles, opera companies, and choirs survive and thrive for the next 500 years and I believe the best way to do that is through diversifying programming. Great composers don't only look like white, European men. It is our duty and privilege as performers and educators to raise up voices that have been historically silenced and ignored.”

 
 
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Leanna Keith

“As a queer, female, hapa American growing up in the Midwest, I spent my childhood looking at the arts wondering if there was a place for me. In my own work, I hope to use that experience to create the representation that I wished to see. It is now essential that arts organizations celebrate diversity and bring it to the forefront of our choices in programming so that kids of all backgrounds know that the arts will always have a place for them as well.”

 
 
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Kaitlin Beck

“Representation matters because everyone brings something important to the table. As an educator, my classroom is full of students from all backgrounds and each of them contributes something new and different to our musical community. Regardless of what makes them unique, all of my students have an important voice to bring to the table.” 

 
 
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Eric Williamson

“Representation matters because it is a direct reflection of the world we live in, the people we talk to, and an array of different cultures and perspectives. Our world would not be as vibrant or fufilling without these unique voices. The experiences of our children and their families matter. I believe educators need to be more intentional about empowering the voices of their students and dismantling current curriculums that do not validate their humanness. There is beauty & harmony in celebrating our differences. Diversity is not representation nor is it an end goal. Our world is already diverse. It is the duty of the educator to foster inclusiveness and include, elevate, and immerse our students in the DIVERSE experiences of our peers.”

 
 
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Maritza Estrada

“My whole life I’ve searched reading books whose voices and experiences resembled mine, as a Chicana, brown, first-generation, displaced, woman. I could not find an exact experience that resembled mine, and that’s when I decided to write the poems no one ever wrote for M.E. To represent is to show up for oneself, one’s family, and multiple communities--conscious or unconscious--who shaped one to remain full of wonder and curiosity, to become wiser in instinct, and to be empowered as a voice, while also making room for those still navigating their voices, too. My responsibilities as a poet and English teacher include presenting new knowledge in the lenses of language, history, and cultural text that were once erased, forgotten, or lost. It’s our duty to pass on the batton to each other for the next and next generation, an imprint we all mark on earth. Many of us are ready.”