This spotlight presentation explores the relationship between anti-Black violence and music therapy. Centering the recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, George Floyd, and Tony McDade, the speaker discusses protests taking place in the United States and throughout the world that demand justice for Black lives. In this presentation, the speaker discusses the interconnectedness of physical and social death as a continuum of oppression the field must contend with to meet social justice aims. Music therapy across the globe is situated within complex socio-political, socio-structural, socio-historical, and socio-cultural systems. It holds the vestiges of White European settler colonialism and is founded upon dominant cultural values and ideals that support its existence and simultaneously benefit and harm client communities. While, as a professional body, we aim to deepen music therapy access and conceptualize empowerment from a social justice frame, we must explore the various ways music therapy leverages proximations of power. Any calls for access and empowerment in music therapy amplify our existence within unjust systems and our participation in their perpetuation in education, theory, research, practice, and praxis. The speaker explores anti-Blackness from a Black feminist lens and discusses the radical repositioning of music therapy as we collectively strive to meet social justice aims.
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