Part of the MWMA’s Mission is sharing traditions, dances, and practices with each other. Morris dancers are often eager learners and sharers. As the Morris tradition is old and came from working class roots, there is much still being researched and documented about traditional practices, techniques, and archetypes. We are still learning about our traditions, both in terms of historical dance styles from English Morris dancing and in terms of how we come together to dance today, in the United States. Our community has been and continues to be devoted to celebrating, renewing, and developing Morris dance practices.
The MWMA community takes seriously its obligation to review tradition — not just celebrate successes but to also acknowledge problematic or harmful practices. Some Morris traditions have racist, sexist, homophobic, or bigoted roots. Recently there have been pushes from white supremacist rhetoricians who would like to use a traditional space, which grew out of the culture of England, as a breeding ground for hate and bigotry and the valoration of “white culture.” We of the MWMA denounce this movement and will not accept its presence in our spaces, or the presence of behavior, remarks, costumes, facepaint, or ideas that promote white supremacy, racist practices, or racial stereotypes.
The MWMA stands with our members of color, queer folk, members of different genders, classes, creeds, and faiths. Our priority is to make the Morris community more whole and safe for all members. We require all attendees of our events to follow our Code of Conduct (below), which promotes inclusivity and does not permit bigoted speech or acts.
As an organization, we recognize that combating racism and bigotry is not a simple process, and it requires ongoing work. Our Code of Conduct enforcement procedures and policies are currently under a several-months-long review by a team of workers, preparing them to meet the growing demands of virtual and in-person community events. Many of our constituent teams have reviewed their traditional practices and are tackling problems involving racist, sexist, homophobic, or bigoted ideas.
Though the MWMA community has started this work, we understand that there is still much to be done, some of which is long overdue. We are devoted to listening, understanding, and building up voices that historically haven’t had the space they were owed. With this in mind, we hope that our Morris research and documentation will help breed further growth and development within Morris teams who would like to be stronger together.
Please review our Code of Conduct, as well as our policies and procedures, and reach out to us if you have thoughts to share.