"Our solidarity must be affirmed by shared belief in a spirit of intellectual openness that celebrates diversity, welcomes dissent, and rejoices in collective dedication to truth". -Bell Hooks.
Melissa is an active member of her community and is an advocate for the equity and inclusion of marginalized voices. Outside of performance, She is actively exploring how the action of theatre-making can be best applied to the process of creating art for social justice in communities. She believes theatre should be a space for self-identified and non self-identified artists to explore themes of violence, marginalization, oppression, sexuality, identity, and discrimination. Bottom line; art is political. If art cannot speak to current and recurring themes within society and its constructs, then we miss the opportunity to have a platform that exposes humanity for what is: an act of radical love. The responsibility of theatre practitioners is to also archive our histories so that we have full autonomy our own narratives to counteract erasure.
Community organizing is a passion of hers, and can be identified in her work for the Humboldt Park Community (Tipsy Cake, Justice 4 Neftali, No Se Vende Campaign, Humboldt Park Beach), Puerto Rican humanitarian issues (The Puerto Rican Agenda), Black Lives Matter movement work in Chicago (The Breathing Room), LGBTQIAA Community (DYKE March, The Chicago Outfit) , Indigenous Rights (Standing Rock and Bomber@s for Standing Rock), The Chicago Women’s March, and all sex and body-positive spaces for femmes of color.