“Well before the tragic death of George Floyd, the organizers and artists who participated in “Towards a More Perfect Union,” produced by Arizona State University Gammage and led by Daniel Bernard Roumain, were thinking of the need for a more equitable future. Built on stolen land and stolen lives, America must reckon with a history that we have not fully faced or admitted. The ghosts of the past will never cease to haunt us if we don't acknowledge them.
“This concert was about acknowledging these truths through music. The compositions I offered attempt to narrate a different story about immigrants and the U.S.-Mexico border than the ones that are consistently narrated by corporate media. For this project, I came to the table with stories of survival and perseverance. Like many other immigrants, Mexicans have shaped this country into what it is today. This is to say nothing of the labor and suffering of our black and indigenous brothers and sisters. Their intellectual, physical and creative labor has also propelled this country along. These compositions are dedicated to them!”
– Martha Gonzalez, former Arizona State University Gammage artist-in-residence
About the Artist
Martha Gonzalez is a Chicana artivista (artist/activist) musician, feminist music theorist and Associate Professor in the Intercollegiate Department of Chicana/o Latina/o Studies at Scripps/Claremont College. A Fulbright, Ford and Woodrow Wilson Fellow, her academic interests have been fueled by her own musicianship as a singer/songwriter and percussionist for Grammy Award-winning band Quetzal. Learn more here.
About the Contributor and Organization
Steven Tepper, a member of the Commission on the Arts, is the Dean and Director of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.
The Herberger Institute positions designers, artists, scholars and educators at the center of public life and prepares them to use their creative capacities to advance culture, build community and imaginatively address today’s most pressing challenges. Learn more here.
Rahele Megosha via the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies
Fairy Tale with Laryngitis and Resignation Letter
Commission on the Arts
The Commission - drawing on the expertise of its members who are artists, scholars, activists, and leaders, as well as the input of people across the country who participated in listening sessions - dedicated itself to recognizing and supporting the essential role of the arts and artists in American life.