Don’t Look Away was premiered as part of
the Concert in Honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.
at Ithaca College on january 27, 2023.
Don’t Look Away (Requiem for a World that Never Was) is an artistic attempt to wrestle with systemic racism, seen through the lens of the Black Lives Matter protest movement and the backlash to it.
This piece is designed as an empathetic call to engagement and point of entry for majority white communities that may be unsure of how to begin this difficult conversation, and a dramatic exploration of the damage done by the racism that has shaped American society and how it is still in force today.
The exhortation “don’t look away” invites white audiences to examine privilege and place in this system, and go on a journey to see how someone may experience bias and blind spots, not with an aim to evoke guilt, but to recognize how good, well-meaning people can perpetuate a system of injustice.
This piece could never replace works that authentically express the experience of racism. It is designed to foster acknowledgement and ownership, and inspire white audiences to join in the struggle for justice with clear minds and humble hearts.
“Race and racism is a reality that so many of us grow up learning to just deal with. But if we ever hope to move past it, it can’t just be on people of color to deal with it. It’s up to all of us – Black, white, everyone – no matter how well-meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting it out. It starts with self-examination and listening to those whose lives are different from our own. It ends with justice, compassion, and empathy that manifests in our lives and on our streets.”
– Michelle Obama –