Partnering Organizations

The Embodying Antiracism Initiative is being designed in collaboration with support from three organizational partners—Urban Bush Women, Junebug Productions, and The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond—whose innovative work actively engages in the practice of both unmasking and undoing racism. These artist/organizers will offer a series of conversations, workshops, trainings, and support for our campus and local community, support the Embodying Antiracism Think Tank Fellows research, and facilitate the culminating Leadership Intensive in March 2023.

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    Junebug Productions

    “To embody antiracism is to develop muscle memory so that the antiracist principles that we write and talk about are embedded in every aspect of our daily experiences. Junebug Productions' work has always been rooted in the belief that the arts are a powerful tool for social change, and we have a long history of partnering with the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond and Urban Bush Women to make this vision a reality. We're looking forward to expanding our community by embarking on a new partnership with Wesleyan University, providing in-depth and long-term training and support to Wesleyan staff, students, and the broader community with the goal of developing the muscle memory required to create a more equitable and explicitly antiracist world.”

    Stephanie McKee-Anderson, Executive Artistic Director
Junebug Productions produces and presents performance art that strives to question and confront the inequitable conditions that have historically impacted the Black community. Through interrogation, Junebug challenges itself and those aligned with the organization to make greater and deeper contributions towards a just society.

Founded in 1980, Junebug Productions is the organizational successor to the Free Southern Theater, a major influence in the Black Arts Movement. Over the past 40 years, Junebug has toured twelve original productions to over 46 states and presented numerous touring productions and local artists in New Orleans. Its Story Circle process and pedagogy have been used in over 500 cities across the country to amplify stories and engage communities.
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    The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond

    “The People’s Institute co-founders understood that the arts and culture has played a key role in every movement for social justice and transformation. Our more than thirty-year relationship with Junebug Productions and Urban Bush Women has strengthened our ability to create spaces where people experience embodied praxis which weaves analysis, practice, principles and values with history and rigor. Concepts found in dance and theater apply to anti-racist community organizing and movement building for racial equity and social transformation. Our partnership and interactive process invites each participant to investigate and analyze structures of power and privilege that show up in our bodies, systems and institutions. This partnership with Wesleyan provides an opportunity for us to reach into the future while looking back to heal some of the ways higher education has contributed to racial disparities and disproportionality. It gives us an opportunity to work with the academy and the broader community in a way that approaches all intelligences with creativity, rigor, discipline and brilliance.”

    —Dr. Kimberley Richards, Organizer, Core Trainer, and Interim Director
The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB), founded in 1980, is an internationally recognized collective of anti-racist community organizers based in New Orleans, Louisiana. PISAB has provided its Undoing Racism workshop to over 2 million people seeking to understand race and racism, and how it shows up individually, institutionally, and systemically and culturally. Referred to as the “gold standard” in anti-racist training, PISAB will conduct its Undoing Racism workshop for multiple groups at Wesleyan as part of the Embodying Antiracism Initiative. PISAB’s history has supported and continues to support a cadre of anti-racist organizers that identifies, nurtures, and builds leadership and accountability in communities across the country.
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    Urban Bush Women

    “The Embodying Antiracism Initiative is a collaboration; a process of exchange as opposed to three separate organizations coming in with separate goals/duties. Our organizations are here to support the work. This is not the first time Urban Bush Women has collaborated with The People's Institute for Survival and Beyond nor Junebug Productions. In fact, we have been doing this work together inside of our communities for decades. For the first time, all three organizations are integrating our principles inside one workshop. This alone provides a deeper understanding of each organization's principles/values and brings opportunities for more collaborations for innovative community engagement. This is the first initiative Urban Bush Women has taken part in with a university/institution. This initiative is specifically for Wesleyan University and its community. We are hopeful that this initiative will move forward in a way that allows this profound antiracism work to enter other universities.”

    Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Founding Artistic Director, Chief Visioning Partner
Urban Bush Women (UBW), a performance ensemble based in Brooklyn, New York, has a nearly 40-year-long tradition of addressing issues of race and equity through innovative dance choreography, community collaboration and engagement, and artistic leadership development. Wesleyan has a long-standing relationship with UBW and its founder, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, including residencies and performances. UBW’s Entering, Building and Exiting Community workshop and annual Summer Leadership Institute have informed the development of the Embodying Antiracism Initiative.