In moments like these, I’m reminded of how thankful I am that music remains such an important part of my life. So why, then, is the joy I feel when performing only so strong when I’m playing in an ensemble? Why can I not extract these same emotions when playing by myself?
My mom’s favorite things to share about her college experience were all the memories she had of her friends. The late night study sessions, the dorm dynamics, the nights out, and sneaking extra coffee cake from the dining hall. So as I took my first steps on North Campus, I was filled with excitement and expectation thinking of the great friendships that awaited me. Similarly to high school, I was fed a narrative of college being the greatest time of my life, the place where I would make my forever friends and other rose-tinted statements that are simultaneously true and false.
While I certainly talked to and gave a lot of people my phone number during O-Week, a lot of those numbers are sitting in my contacts like emails in my inbox from the club listservs I joined out of genuine interest but never ended up going to. Still, I’ve met many wonderful people that have been invaluable to me as pillars of support, cheerleaders, relationship coaches, comedians, study buddies and just proof that amazing human beings are out there.
As the murder of George Floyd has shocked the nation into protest and the realities of systemic racism are further exposed, it is important to consider just how deeply this racism permeates. As the farmers market pavilion in Ithaca opens for its 46th year and many home gardens in the upstate region finally begin to flourish after a long winter’s frost, it is incredibly important to consider the intersection of food and racial justice. Our country was founded on colonialism and inequality. These same inequalities proliferate into our current food system, creating vast disparities in access to food and land. As a growing number of movements seek to dismantle our current food system in hopes of erecting one founded on principles of sustainability, health and justice, we must also acknowledge that food justice is racial justice.