Workshops

Benjamin leads choral workshops on Black Spiritual music and other music of the African diaspora.  He also leads racism and diversity workshops with nonprofits, faith groups, and other entities.

Benjamin's music is non-denominational and his approach to complex issues is thoughtful and non-dogmatic.  He has worked not only with Christian churches, but with synagogues, interfaith groups, secular groups, schools, and companies.

If your choir or church wants to do a deep dive into the world of Black Spiritual music, let Benjamin take you there.  If you are a nonprofit or business, Benjamin can help deconstruct race issues and lead empowering and open-minded discussions around racial justice.

Speaking at Humboldt Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

Example workshop (Music)

 

A Long Way from Home: The birth story of Black Spiritual music

Participants begin with the music of West Africa, and follow its development through work songs, field hollers, and the early Negro Spiritual. This workshop is designed to help all of us (not only black folks) connect with our own ancestral stories, and learn to tell our stories through the power of music.  It focuses on identity, resilience, empathy, honoring the gift of life, and deepening our understanding of ourselves and one another.

Example workshop (Racial Justice)

From John Henry to George Floyd: A Brief History of Black Oppression

One of the early folk heroes of Black History is John Henry, the Reconstruction Era “steel-driving man." Historically, Henry was most likely part of an unpaid prison chain gang. Today, it is still legal to pay prison laborers under $1 per hour. This system of what Prof. Cedric Robinson called "Racial Capitalism" is still the underpinning of much of today's economy.  This session looks at how structures like prison labor, the wealth gap, policing, segregation in housing and education, and other systems perform many of the same functions today as they did at the end of American slavery.

ARE YOU PRESS?

© 2020 Benjamin Mertz