At Pivot Arts we embrace a tolerant America – a vision of America as a multi-cultural, democratic and peaceful society. Whether we are descended from slaves or from royalty, we are all equal. As we enter 2017 we want to take a moment to affirm our core values.

We believe that the arts contribute to a vibrant community. We believe that the arts bring diverse people together to share in our common humanity. The arts promote understanding between people of different backgrounds. In 2017, we will work harder through our monthly Live Talk show, our performance festival and all of our programming to promote peace and understanding in our community.

We are thrilled to be a part of such a diverse community with many recent immigrants. As the descendant of immigrants, I know that my family’s experience is similar to some of yours. In the 1890s and in the early 1900s my maternal great-grandparents and then my paternal grandparents left Eastern Europe and immigrated to America in search of a better life. Thanks to them, my parents were born and raised in New York City. They never had to live through the horrors of the Holocaust. Thanks to the foresight of my ancestors to leave Europe well before Hitler’s rise to power, my sister and I were eventually born. I will never know their full stories. But I am eternally grateful to them that they had the courage and the instincts to get out of Europe and Russia when they could.

For my family, and for so many other immigrants, America has always stood as a beacon of hope. My grandmother worked in the garment industry and my grandfather, who fought in WWI for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was a printer. He was taken prisoner by the Russians and managed to escape when revolution broke out in 1917. He came to America where he met my grandmother and they struggled through the Great Depression. Their son, my father, went to City College of New York, worked as a teacher, and then earned his PhD from Columbia University. He became a tenured professor at the prestigious University of Chicago where he taught for over 30 years.

My family’s success story is not everyone’s story – not everyone can just lift themselves out of poverty. It’s up to all of us, as an empathetic society, to make certain that everyone in America has a fair shot at success. Despite our many problems with systemic racism, America has been a place where many of our family members fled because they believed that they could live in a diverse society without the threat of violence. We all need to work harder to expand that dream of peace and a life without the threat of violence to everyone.

At Pivot Arts, we look forward to an expanding vision of tolerance and acceptance in 2017. We also look forward to creating exciting and innovative performances. We are grateful to be a part of this multi-ethnic, LGBTQ community in Edgewater and Uptown.

Thanks to all of you for being a part of Pivot Arts and Happy New Year!

Photo of 2016 “Celebrate Community!” Parade by Sarah Craig.