The final frontier & land of new beginnings
Recently, Marcus was in Anchorage, Alaska working on a social justice project with his partner dancer/choreographer Tamica Washington-Miller. Together, the two are creating a new music and dance work that will help to bring more awareness to the plight of the refugees and immigrants based in Alaska. Their voices and stories need to be heard.
Choreographer & Composer
Tamica Washington-Miller & Marcus L. Miller
Tamica started working on the project in 2017 in collaboration with the Anchorage Concert Association (ACA). Together the two are determined to figure out a way to use the Arts as a medium for effecting changes in not only the local communities of Anchorage, but also in society at large. A change in the current policies and practices that are systemically based.
As artists/activists, the Millers are using their mediums to shed light on this growing problem and are hoping to help discover some better solutions. Lots of work is being done up here to help, but more is still needed. They are working with organizations such as RAIS (Refugee And Immigrant Services), Catholic Social Services, and the ACA to effect such change.
Aside from the entertainment aspect, the Arts have the power to heal and unite people. This is an ongoing project that is expected to have a sight specific premiere of the work in the Spring of 2019.
"I've had a chance to meet a lot of wonderful people from places such as Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Panama, and the Dominican Republic. No matter where they're from, they all share a common bond...they now live here in the USA and should be afforded the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. Some of their stories are filled with agonizing pain, while others are shining examples of determination and resiliency. As artists, we are duty bound to use our gifts and talents to help make the world a better place for everyone and bridge the cultural divides that separate us as people."
Through the music and with the dance, the Millers hope to share some of the stories of the newest Americans that are now following the paths of countless others in U.S. history. The difference is now, their road to freedom is littered with road blocks and hurdles, and filled with much uncertainty.
Back in Alaska for a quick visit…continuing to work with the refugee and immigrant community. This trip includes work with the incredible Alaska Heritage Center, the Boys & Girls Club of Mountain View, and a performance at the Anchorage Museum as part of a Mayoral Welcoming Event.
With each successive trip, we’ve been able to connect with a different segment of the diverse Anchorage community. There is a place for everyone in the vast landscape of the great North West, but it’s in the hearts and minds of all those involved that this must resonate and reside. Transportation is quite possibly the biggest challenge facing most of the refugee and immigrant communities. Yes, there are many additional issues that must be addressed, but fortunately, there are solutions to the problems… Acceptance, Inclusion, and Tolerance are the key!
It was heavily insisted that to fully understand the Alaskan experience, we had to partake in the winter…the dark months of the year. There are many days when the sun is only out for 5 hours. That’s no joke! It greatly affects your mood and well being. We arrived in time for the first good snow of the season. I‘m not sure I could really last up here very long…It’s cold and dark even during the day!
As for the project… we’re getting there! The work continues. We’ve identified the organizations in the Anchorage community that will we working together for the performance. Rehearsals are under way and the process continues to evolve.
Other than the calendar year…not much has changed up here. It’s still cold, dark, and snowy! Work on the project is intensifying and we’ve identified some other potential players/partners for the event. Don’t want to say to much before we debut the performance, but if all goes well, this could be very transformatitive for the city of Anchorage. There are a lot of pieces lining up and once properly aligned… something great can happen! We’ll be back in April to make it happen and see it all come to fruition. Until then, it’s back to work in sunny and warmer So Cal…
Saturday, April 27, 2019 2:00 p.m.
at the Mountain View Boys & Girls Club - Anchorage, Alaska
Live Dancing, Live Drumming…lots of fun!