When Is Change Gonna Come?

My name is Jennifer Dance and I have a story to share with the world. In part, it’s my life story ... that of a young white woman in love with a young black man in the sixties and seventies. We were living in England when Keith was attacked by Skinheads. He survived the fractured skull and broken ribs, and looking for a safer place to raise our children, we migrated to Canada. Shockingly, a few months after arriving here, Keith died from a brain infection caused by the earlier head injury.  I had a three-year-old, a two-year-old and I was pregnant! How could I explain to them what happened to their daddy? How could I make sure that the racism in their history would not be repeated? What did I need to teach them? And always the haunting question - when is change gonna come? But even more importantly: how do you move on from such immense loss?

Writing novels, songs, and plays became my outlet, my passion and my medium for raising awareness about racism and promoting change. Forty years have passed since Keith died. A new job title has entered our vocabulary: social change artists. This is apparently what I am and what I have been for most of my 71 years!

Dandelions in the Wind is my life’s work - a Broadway-style play about love and racism. Set against the historic backdrop of the Civil Rights era in the States and moving forward to today, it contains much of my personal experience, including the cry of my heart ... When is change gonna come?

The show premiered in Toronto in 2017, receiving powerful reviews from audiences as varied as school children, teachers and seniors. Eager to take the show forward to bigger venues across Canada, my business partner, Quisha Wint, and I worked on a business plan which involved using the show as an educational tool. We both have a passion for teaching children about anti-racism. After all, racism is something you learn. You have to be taught to hate. Dandelions in the Wind teaches the history in a safe way that young people relate to. It starts the conversation. Although the musical is for all age groups of our population, we envisioned schools bringing students to performances, our companion guide helping teachers to lead and facilitate discussions.

Then the pandemic hit. Confronted with the closure of theatres, it seemed that Dandelions in the Wind would be put on hold indefinitely, yet the world seemed to be screaming out for its message. With so many people pivoting their business to online, we started to think outside the box. But how can one produce live musical theatre without a stage, without an audience, and without our actors even getting close to one another? Make a podcast! It seemed ridiculous to begin with. How can you take all that rich visual material and represent it just as audio? But when I started experimenting with the script, it was amazing how well it worked. And a podcast makes the material accessible to many more people at much lower cost. With schools and the population at large, all turning to online learning, the timing is perfect for this resource. And sadly the content is more needed in today’s world than when I first wrote it.

So, welcome to Dandelions in the Wind - a six-part Digital Anti-racism program for all ethnicities and ages from 12 and up. This program helps us understand systemic racism in North America, and validates the BLM movement for those who might not understand its importance or roots. It shows us how far we have come in eliminating racism, but how much further we still have to go.

Despite being less expensive to produce than live theatre, this six episode podcast comes with a cost as we must pay our actors, musicians, and vocalists to rehearse and record their parts in a socially distanced studio with sound engineers. Plus there is advertising and upgrading the teacher guide. With no revenue from live performances, we have created a not for profit corporation to fund the podcast remastering. Will you help us? We are ready to start production. All we need is money!

If you find yourself watching the news and wondering what this world has come to; if you feel helpless, and overwhelmed ... now is your moment! You can be part of the solution. And if you are jaded, doubting that change will ever come, then I encourage you by saying that the time for lasting change is now. This is the moment. Join us in helping to change society’s perception of racism and usher in a better way of life. As Gandhi said… “Be the change you want to see in the world”. The song by Crosby Stills also comes to mind…”Teach the children well.”

We invite you to judge the calibre of Dandelions in the Wind by visiting our website. We’ve included a Podcast Teaser so you can experience how superbly an ‘audio-only’ approach engages the imagination. This teaser is a pre-release draft to give you a flavour of the podcast series. It will be re-recorded as part of the full recording with the actors we will feature in our podcasts.

Your donation will help bring this podcast series to life. Thank you.

Donations

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  • Anonymous 
    • $20 
    • 3 d
  • Jeffrey Kong 
    • $50 
    • 8 d
  • Frank Best 
    • $100 
    • 11 d
  • Blanca Tovar Verma 
    • $250 
    • 12 d
  • Tim Gittens  
    • $20 
    • 12 d
See all

Organizer

Quisha Wint 
Organizer
Stouffville, ON
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