Maywood Fine Arts dancers outside of the organization’s Fifth Avenue dance studio, Stairway of the Stars, on Thursday. | Below, MFA co-founder Lois Baumann sports an Obama ‘Change’ t-shirt inside of the studio. || Shanel Romain/VFP
Thursday, January 19, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || Updated: 11:37 p.m.
Earlier this evening, dozens of dancers from Maywood Fine Arts gathered outside of the organization’s bright, new Fifth Avenue dance studio, Stairway of the Stars, and held out electric candles.
The demonstration was part of a nationwide campaign called the “Ghostlight Project,” during which arts and theater supporters in time zones across the country gathered at 5:30 p.m. today to make a pledge “to stand for and protect the values of inclusion, participation, and compassion for everyone regardless of race, class, religion, country of origin, immigration status, (dis)ability, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation,” according to the project’s website.
“Theaters across the country have what’s called a ‘ghostlight,’ so that anyone who comes to the stage after hours, [when the theater is dark], can feel welcome,” said MFA board member Spooner Baumann.
Baumann said that MFA, along with the thousands of arts organizations taking part in this evening’s demonstration, is fighting for those open values ahead of the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump.
During last year’s presidential campaign, Trump routinely courted controversy with tweets, statements, gestures and policy proposals that many people found offensive and distasteful.
His election last November has since drawn the ire of women across the country, hundreds of thousands of whom are planning to march on Washington, D.C., and in cities across the country (including Chicago), the day after the President-elect’s inauguration.
MFA co-founder Lois Baumann said that, while she’ll be too busy holding down the fort on Fifth Avenue to march, tonight’s vigil was a way of fighting back.
“It’s a civil right to be able to have a safe and happy community,” said Baumann, pointing to a piece of paper on which she wrote that phrase under the statement, “I fight for …”
Other students and community members filled out the pieces of paper, which were posted to the window of one of the studios.
“I am an African American child,” read one paper, “I fight for equality.”
“I am Symphony Taylor,” read another, “I fight for hope.”
“We are dancers,” read yet another, “We fight for expression.”
MFA co-founder Ernie Baumann said that the organization participated in the nationwide demonstration as a show of force in favor of those values.
“We did this because it’s the right thing to do,” he said. VFP