Mother speaks to urgency of realizing, lifting up, all people’s gifts
Wednesday November 30, 2011 -- Michelle Strutzenberger
While hauntingly beautiful music surges through Massey Hall this Saturday, Rebecca Beayni and her partner Anna Maclean will share their gifts of dance, hope and caring.
It’s expected to be a profoundly emotional finale to an evening of moving performances by the Toronto Symphony, renowned Canadian singer and songwriter Steve Bell and much more.
Contributing to the deep meaning in the young women’s performance is the music itself, which Bell composed after he was emotionally torn apart during a visit to the death camp Auschwitz. There’s also the fact that Rebecca dances from her wheelchair.
We’re a long way in time from the horror of the Second World War and the death camps of the holocaust, where people who had a disability were the first to be killed, says Rebecca’s mother Susan.
“Now people are seeing someone like Rebecca, who would have been the first to go, with her name in lights, as a featured artist. It’s a huge point,” says Susan.
It’s especially noteworthy that this event will convene people from all walks of life, she adds, including those not directly linked to disability, who will also be able to see and hear what is possible.
While the event is intended to spark hope, for Susan it’s also about driving home a sense of urgency about the need to continue to change our thinking as a society.
Even though we have come so far, “we really are in frightening times,” she says, referring to the shrinking funding for people who have a disability and disturbing options for those who no longer have family to support them.
“We have to wake up and open our hearts.
“People have to realize we all have gifts to share,” she says.
In addition to her dance, Rebecca, for example, brings her gift of inspiring people to think in different ways, “ways that are less competitive, less focused on power and money, and more on the qualities of the heart,” says Susan.
Susan refers to the importance of the ubuntu philosophy as a way to shape our thinking and daily acts of living. At its essence, ubuntu, an African term, is about living with the understanding that “my humanity is inextricably bound up in your humanity.”
It’s that message Susan hopes comes through in this Massey Hall performance, and continues through all the other work Rebecca carries out, whether as a volunteer with a weekly music program, or through a film that’s be created once funding is available.
Her greatest hope is to see Rebecca’s story told and her gifts shared as broadly as possible, with no less a vision than to change the world.
For more on the Massey Hall performance December 3, click here.
To learn more about Rebecca www.rebeccabeayni.com