The House That Pulse Built – A Community Political, Cultural & Spiritual Event

Project Curator: Sha’Ifa Mami Watu (Dietra V. Malik, ULC D.Div)

mamiwatu@thehousethatpulsebuilt.org

Background:

Wikipedia offers us the following relevant information about the three cornerstones of The House That Pulse Built:

I.

“On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old security guard, killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a terrorist attackalso considered a hate crime—inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, United States. He was shot and killed by Orlando Police Department (OPD) officers after a three-hour standoff. Pulse was hosting Latin Night and most of the victims were Latino. It was the deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter, the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in U.S. history, and the deadliest terrorist attack in the U.S. since the September 11 attacks in 2001.

II.

House music initially became popular in Chicago clubs in 1984, pioneered by figures such as Frankie Knuckles, Phuture, and Mr. Fingers, and was associated with African-American and gay subcultures. …House also had an influence of relaying political messages to people who were considered to be outcasts of society. The music appealed to those who didn’t fit into mainstream American society and was especially celebrated by many black males. Frankie Knuckles once said that the Warehouse club in Chicago was like “church for people who have fallen from grace” The house producer Marshall Jefferson compared it to “old-time religion in the way that people just get happy and screamin.” Deep house was similar to many of the messages of freedom for the black community.”

III.

Santería, also known as Regla de Ochá or La Regla de Ifá, is a syncretic religion of Caribbean origin that developed in the Spanish Empire among West African descendants. Santeria is also a Spanish word that means the worship of Saints. …Santería is a system of beliefs that merges aspects of Yoruba mythology that were brought to the New World by Yoruba slaves, along with Christianity and Indigenous American tradition. The slaves carried with them various religious customs, including a trance and divination system for communicating with their ancestors and deities… and sacred drumming and dance. …The spread of Santería beyond the Spanish -speaking parts of the Caribbean, including to the United States, was catalyzed by the Cuban Revolution of 1959. …Santería is mainly found in the Spanish speaking Americas (notably the Caribbean), including but not limited to Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and Mexico, as well as in the United States, mainly as a result of immigration from these countries, especially Cuba and Puerto Rico.

Project Description:

In an effort to honor the lives lost at the Pulse Nightclub that night, this project seeks to highlight not only the political aspect, as addressed by the official categorization of “hate crime”, but also to build upon two other aspects present, which are mainstays in the Latinx American, African American, and Indigenous American communities. Those aspects are, culture and spirituality.

The purpose then, of this project is to provide to a diverse community an interactive opportuity to honor the 49 people, of predominantly Latinx heritage, who lost their lives at Pulse Nightclub on June 12th, 2016.  Community participants can come together and inspire one another, as well as be inspired by key elements undoubtedly present during Latin Night at Pulse, namely:  House music and dance, cultural expression, and spiritual expression.

Workshops – theme “My House/Our House”:

House dance – Facilitated by a community House dancer/teacher; this workshop is family oriented and open to dancers of all ages and skill levels.

Creative Writing – Facilitated by a community writer/teacher; explores how each workshop participant engages with the idea of ‘shelter’, as an internal and external concept.

Visual Art – Facilitated by a community artist; using a variety of Street Art techniques, workshop participants explore ways to creatively express their relationships to their own neighborhoods/communities.

House Tea Dance:

An afternoon House music and dance party, directly following the House dance workshop, featuring a live DJ. Creative Writing and Visual Art workshop participants are invited to share their writing and artwork at this community gathering.

Ancestral House Ritual:

Opening community spiritual ritual for The House That Pulse Built; includes drumming circle and individual expressions to honor the idea that the 49 souls whose lives were taken at Pulse Nightclub, are now part of a universal House of Ancestors, worthy of remembering and respect. An outdoor gathering when possible.

***The House That Pulse Built is a ‘pay what you can’ community event.  No one is turned away from any activities for lack of funds. Donations will be made to community LGBTQ youth projects.

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