Exposure and Access
Dear St. HOPE Friends, Supporters and community,
Never would I have guessed that an accomplished young Black man from my home state of North Carolina would be on the big stage gracing us on a grand piano.. It’s not that I didn’t think he and so many other Black musicians were capable. It’s that still today, opportunity is not always accessible in communities of color. This is primarily due to lack of exposure and access – both of which are important factors in determining whether our dreams and ambitions can be fulfilled.
We are thrilled that the Colour of Music is coming to Sacramento next week and that our community will have access to experience and enjoy renowned Black musicians. Exposure to artists like Kyle Walker, from Winston Salem, NC and Anyango Yarbo-Davenport, whose mother is from Cleveland, is so important for community members of all backgrounds and ages. I can’t wait for the melodic sounds of classical renditions of pieces like “Wade in the Water” and “Porgy and Bess” that will light up the stage of the Historic Guild Theater and send chills through the entire audience.
I’m grateful that these talented musicians had exposure and access and that they are now paying it forward. I hope you will get to experience the amazing Colour of Music next week that will showcase the talent of Black musicians and composers from around the world.
As we continue through the COVID Pandemic, exposure and access have become even bigger issues, especially for the black and brown communities. Access to food, quality healthcare, affordable housing, resources, career training, broadband, education, arts and culture and other opportunities have been exacerbated during the Pandemic. In addition, access is being defined more and more around vaccination.
I’m grateful that St. HOPE is on the front lines working to ensure that our scholars and community members have the access and exposure they need to succeed. One example is our sponsorship of the Cash for College Workshop that is focused on helping Black students navigate the college financial aid process. It is critical that under-represented communities have equal opportunities; and I hope that many of the high students in our region take advantage of these events to increase their access to college. St. HOPE is partnering with California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and California Student Aid Commission for Cash to College Workshop on December 7th for 5-7:30 PM.
Now is the time to band together – to keep ourselves and our community safe and healthy – so that we emerge strong from the Pandemic and no one is left behind. Increasing exposure and access are two important ways to do that.
Cassandra H. B. Jennings