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January 1, 2017


A Note from Executive Director Eyenga Bokamba

"For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning."  - T.S. Eliot

The new year is here. 2017.  Happy New Year to you, one and all!
 
In this nascent moment, on the cusp of transition, in acknowledgment of the passage of time and title, President Obama framed a beautiful tribute to the dream of America in his farewell speech: opportunity. Optimism. Open-heartedness.
 
Here, now, I offer the excerpts that resonated with me relative to our work as a community and a nation, and more specifically, our work at Intermedia Arts: 
 
"Our youth, our drive, our diversity and openness, our boundless capacity for risk and reinvention means that the future should be ours. But that potential will only be realized if our democracy works. Only if our politics better reflects the decency of our people. Only if all of us, regardless of party affiliation or particular interests help restore the sense of common purpose that we so badly need right now.
 
"We can argue about how to best achieve these goals. But we can’t be complacent about the goals themselves. For if we don’t create opportunity for all people, the disaffection and division that has stalled our progress will only sharpen in years to come.
 
"So regardless of the station we occupy; we all have to try harder; we all have to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as much as we do; that they value hard work and family just like we do; that their children are just as curious and hopeful and worthy of love as our own.
 
"Democracy can buckle when it gives into fear. So just as we as citizens must remain vigilant against external aggression, we must guard against a weakening of the values that make us who we are.
 
"All of us, regardless of party, should be throwing ourselves into the task of rebuilding our democratic institutions.

"It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy. Embrace the joyous task we have been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours...that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there’s an election, not just when you own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime. 
 
"I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change — but in yours.
 
"I am asking you to hold fast to that faith written into our founding documents; that idea whispered by slaves and abolitionists; that spirit sung by immigrants and homesteaders and those who marched for justice; that creed reaffirmed by those who planted flags from foreign battlefields to the surface of the moon; a creed at the core of every American whose story is not yet written:

Yes, we can."

 
                - President Barack Obama, January 10, 2017 
 
 
 
In 2017, I welcome you, on behalf of the staff and board of Intermedia Arts, into this guardianship of democracyinto this joyous task of improvementinto this communal artistic conversation at the core of our democracy. Let's tell our stories.  Let's talk.  Most importantly, let's listen, to ourselves and others, for our youth, drive, diversity, and openness define us.

 

In solidarity,

Eyenga Bokamba

Executive Director, Intermedia Arts