On Friday, June 15, SAAPRI and the Kalapriya Center for Indian Performing Arts, in collaboration with the Chicago Park District, conducted the first in a series of Night Out in the Park events titled “Ahimsa: The End of Violence.” The event was held in Abbott Park, located on the far south side of Chicago in the Roseland neighborhood, and consisted of a dance performance by Kalapriya artists and students from Joyce Kilmer Elementary and John J. Pershing Magnet School. The performance was followed by a panel discussion consisting of community leaders who reflected on the themes of violence and justice.
This program was truly a unique approach to combating violence in our communities as it brought together traditional Indian dance, international storytelling, students from different backgrounds and different Chicago neighborhoods, and reflections from the community. The Kalapriya students performed narrative dances depicting three different stories from Ancient Greece, 19th Century America, and Ancient India, with each story serving as a meditation on nonviolence and justice. “The dances were thought provoking, and it was wonderful to see a multicultural group dancing; it was a great conversation about multicultural peace brought to the Roseland neighborhood,” commented Michael LaFarague, who was instrumental in bringing the event to Roseland.
The performances aimed to bring communities together and build bridges between different cultures and neighborhoods. Given the segregation in the city of Chicago, it is rare that South Asian culture and community members are present in Roseland and other neighborhoods on the far south side. Dr Williams Briggs Jr. appreciated this aspect of the event, saying, “It was a great performance, something that combined cultures. I thought it was good to see this in our communit