Student uses jazz to give back to Lansing
Jazz studies senior Dakota Peterson doesn’t just play drums for a hobby, but rather she plays in multiple groups and uses her skills to raise money for different organizations around Lansing.
Peterson is involved with Solidarity Helps Raise Impoverished and Marginalized People, or SHRIMP. This group uses the arts to fundraise money for people in need.
“The goal of the group is to give back to our direct community,” Peterson said. “Not only that, but branching further from that we want to work on community building and hopefully down the line that looks like having workshops, having a space that we can hold these workshops, continuing to fundraise for organizations that need money and creating relationships with these different organizations in Lansing.”
Peterson said since the group started in September 2016 they have already raised more than $2,000 for . The last event featured spoken word, a comedian and a number of bands that included Peterson’s own all-girl jazz combo, Tesserae.
“It is important that we all for one understand where we are,” Peterson said. “I am lucky enough to have access to what I need, now others are not as fortunate to have that. It’s not only because I want to but I feel like it wouldn’t be right if I wasn’t doing what I could to help in whatever way I can ... It is a humbling experience to be able to raise money for organizations that really need it and know that you are helping them.”
Peterson said the group is currently deciding what organization to donate to next and is in the process of coordinating its next event.
“There is so much going on, and I think that is one of the problems that we have had as an organization is choosing which battles we are going to fight,” Peterson said. “ is still a serious problem. Not only that, but you have sexuality, race, gender, socioeconomics and ability and you have all these different routes that you could choose. It is kind of overwhelming at times.”
Peterson said she would like to use her ability to play music to bring people together.
“Music is like a healing experience and music adds a space for community building too,” Peterson said. “One of my professors said something before we played a concert for MLK and he was like, ‘Just play because the people in the audience, they need this. This is like one of those only good things they are going to be experiencing recently, so just remember to play because they will feel you.’”
Ashlie Nichole was born and raised in Lansing. The 27-year-old said she wants to give back to the place she grew up and she wants to give residents a voice.
“I feel like Lansing, even though it is the capital, a lot of people don’t really know about it,” Nichole said. “Even the small local organizations like the Village Summit, a lot of people don’t know they exist or what they do for the community, so it is just to give them a chance to see that there is more to Lansing. It is not the association that it is part of East Lansing, it is it’s own culture and it’s own space.”
Lansing resident Mimi Fisher said he is using SHRIMP to give back to the community who gave to him while he was 10 years ago.
“A lot of people have a lot to complain about and their complaints are valid, but not a lot of people actually do anything,” Fisher said. “It feels good to be an active part of your community.”