Who could have anticipated that the Feldenkrais® Conference 2016 in Asheville, North Carolina this summer, July 7th – 10th, would become an unexpected opportunity to support and advocate for the tipping of mainstream America toward the Feldenkrais Method® — toward restoring human dignity, toward human growth and development for each individual in their own way?
Asheville, where the Feldenkrais Conference will take place, is a liberal city within the conservative state of North Carolina. The State of North Carolina recently passed the HB2 law, full of blatant discrimination, and the city of Asheville and University of North Carolina, where the conference attendees will be housed, have both spoken out strongly against HB2 law. The Feldenkrais Guild of North America contacted the LGBTQ community in Asheville and received a request to please come to Asheville with the Feldenkrais Conference instead of boycotting, and to support the people of Asheville who are up against this strong current of discrimination in their state — to support the values of respect and equality for all of us.
Thank you Nancy Haller, president of the Feldenkrais Guild of North America, for writing a letter to the governor of North Carolina regarding FGNA’s clear disapproval of the new HB2 law and stating in her letter that at the 2016 Feldenkrais Conference: “We will welcome and include all those who are interested in studying the Feldenkrais Method® and its associations in health, sports, music, art and science with our organization through workshops, fellowship by offering a safe environment to be human.” I tip my hat to you, Nancy and to the Feldenkrais Conference Committee 2016 for going ahead with the conference and maintaining a welcoming environment for all attending to grow and learn together.
The United States is at a tipping point with upcoming elections in a very politically divided country. I keep thinking about our current political craziness in the U.S where a presidential candidate gains more and more support in the polls through rabble-rousing, and where North Carolina passes a law to intentionally spread discrimination and further divide our country by starting a battlefield of lawsuits between the Federal government of the United States and many other individual states. I keep thinking about the devastating hate crimes and violence in the US (and abroad), as well as the love outpourings from so many Americans and people around the globe in the wake of all the destruction. The U.S. is at a tipping point and I am not sure in which direction it will tip. I am grateful that the Feldenkrais Conference will take place in Asheville, North Carolina, standing in solidarity with the citizens of Asheville and supporting dignity, respect, and development of all human beings. And as a Feldenkrais practitioner®, I will continue to support human growth and development for each individual in their own way — and encourage the tipping of mainstream America toward the Feldenkrais Method now and for generations to come.
Sonja H Sutherland, GCFP