Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Denise Malis


The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected death and infection rates of racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, immigrants and refugees, and those experiencing poverty, amplifying the racial, socio-economic, and systemic inequalities that already existed in the United States of America. People experiencing homelessness often do not have the privilege to shelter-in-place or work from home; the same goes for essential workers who must work in-person to provide social services. This community engagement project challenges the notion of individual resilience through the lens of critical race theory and a systems approach to oppression observed in an emergency homeless shelter serving mostly Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. The author examines how to uplift marginalized communities utilizing the tenets of Community Music Therapy and the principles of an anti-oppressive practice through the creation of a musical performance highlighting the talents of both children and staff of the homeless shelter. Lyric analysis and a charted documentation of challenges, strategies, and community responses to the showcase are discussed. Major themes that surfaced were the need for community to sustain a sense of resistance and resourcefulness instead of individualized resilience, the importance of community care in the infrastructure of an institution, the dangers of neoliberalism, and the act of fostering joy as means of resistance.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.




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