Jazz player silhouette with yellow ambient background, RIX Entertainment Group, Sapphire Room, Boise Legacy Project, and Boise Hive.

Facilitating Conversations on Race with the Black Legacy Project

I’ve had the privilege of being involved in a myriad of events that have not only entertained but also educated and inspired. One such event that stands out is the recent visit of the Black Legacy Project to Boise, Idaho. As the liaison for the group, sponsors, and event as a whole, I was deeply moved by the experience and the lessons it brought to light.

While known for it’s many wonderful attributes, Boise was the unlikely stage for an exploration of the lesser-known progressive history of Black Americans and race relations in Idaho. The Black Legacy Project, with its mission to highlight these overlooked narratives, chose Boise as the site for their June 2023 event, themed “Where You’d Least Expect It.”

Unknown to many, Idaho’s history is surprisingly progressive when it comes to the treatment of Black Americans. The state has had integrated schools since 1870, passed civil rights legislation three years before it was passed nationally, and allowed Black folks to have homesteading rights. This unexpected yet significant history of Black and White solidarity is what drew the Black Legacy Project to Boise.

The event was a powerful blend of roundtable discussions and musical collaborations, engaging Black and White Idahoans to revisit and reclaim this history of interracial solidarity. The goal was to discuss steps that could be taken to advance greater belonging in Idaho for present and future generations.

Local Idaho musicians reimagined the works “How to Help America” by Dr. Keith L. Anderson and “Beat the Drum” by Eilen Jewell. Both works served as a call and response to the theme of “Where You’d Least Expect It,” showcasing how the act of building bridges and honoring our shared humanity across divides is the fuel that leads us to work in solidarity to build communities where everyone belongs.

At RIX Entertainment Group, we believe in the power of events to bring people together and inspire change. Our role in facilitating this event was a testament to that belief. We saw firsthand how music and dialogue can break down barriers and foster understanding.

As the event concluded, local Black and White artists worked together to write and record a song that offers actionable steps for cultivating interracial solidarity and building communities of belonging. This collaborative effort was a poignant reminder of the power of unity and the potential for progress when we come together.

The Black Legacy Project’s visit to Boise was a transformative experience that shed light on the city’s unexpected history and offered a roadmap to a brighter future. As RIX Entertainment Group, we were honored to play a part in this event and look forward to facilitating more such experiences that inspire, educate, and bring people together.

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