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Like one would expect, Asherah Serpentine Productions’ upcoming evening of burlesque, belly dance and opera is set to be an intimate night of cabaret. But what audiences might not realize is that the show is being put on in an effort to raise money to help immigrants access human rights, legal rights, safety and freedom. The event, titled “This Land Is Our Land: An Intimate Cabaret Benefit,” will take place Saturday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. at the Tangent Gallery & Hastings Street Ballroom. Serpentine said the event is personal for her.
“I grew up the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor and when I first saw the photos of the undocumented immigrants caged in inhumane conditions in the detention centers, I saw the faces of my recent ancestors looking back at me and I cried,” she said. “I am so appalled and feel so hurt for our country, and especially the immigrant population, that this is a thing that is happening here and now.”
The horrific images, Serpentine said, spurred her into action. She regularly attends protests and marches to fight for rights.
“However, where I really excel, and where my passion is, is in dance,” she said. “Dance, to me, is an expression of our higher selves. Dance brings together communities. I feel that even if people don’t speak the same language linguistically, we all speak the same language when we dance. Something having to do with dance is the space that I felt I would be able to make the greatest contribution.”
So Serpentine put a call out to her friends that she said was “as easy as posting on Facebook.”
“Every one of my performers for this event is excited to be dancing for this worthy cause and I am so honored and thrilled to have their incredible collective talent,” she said.
Starring in “This Land Is Our Land” will be headliner and burlesque star Lottie Ellington. Other performers include Leslie Nave, Ruby La Louche, Riksar, Mona Minx, Delta Van Damn, Tommy Gun, Heather Marie, Natalie Carter, Amanda Sherlock Rimes, Jennifer Bak and Barbara Jean. The evening, which will also feature a 50/50 raffle, will be emceed by Stevie Nips. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will go to Cosecha Detroit to help fund their work in helping the undocumented community and their families via advocacy and activism.
“I would like to maintain awareness of what is happening in our government and at our borders to an underprivileged and underserved population,” Serpentine said. “As of July 2019, 26 people have died during the Trump Administration while in ICE custody. At least eight of these deaths were due to lack of proper medical care. These numbers also do not include those who have died in non-ICE agencies around the country.
“The fate of the undocumented children is heartrending,” Serpentine continued. “Prior to this administration, families were generally kept together during the deportation process. Since Trump has come into office, children are now routinely being separated from their parents. The number is staggering: 2,814 children have been separated from their families. That is 1,556-plus families that have been torn apart. Since June of 2018, 1,090 children have been separated against a court order to cease this practice. Most of those children are ending up in detention centers that are overcrowded, understaffed and undersupplied. The conditions that have been described are akin to torture such as keeping the lights on 24/7, making the children sleep on the floor without bedding and not providing anywhere near adequate food and medical care.”
Tangent Gallery and Hastings Street Ballroom is located at which is located at 715 E. Milwaukee St. in Detroit. Tickets for “This Land Is Our Land: An Intimate Cabaret Benefit” range from $20 – 50 and may be purchased online at gaybe.am/Qi.