Many will remember Friday, June 25, 2021 as the day that Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years for the Murder of George Floyd, but there was more going on here in Minnesota. It was also the 88th birthday of Dr. James Meredith who was celebrated at the Minneapolis Machine Shop. It was a high night of formal attire and great entertainment.
One of the evenings highlights was Minnesota’s own female vocalist; Thomasina Petrus. She is most known as the Minnesota’s Song Bird - Billie Holiday and for her famous Thomasina’s Cashew brittle. Thomasina and her band (Walter Chancellor Jr.: Saxophone, Thomas West: Piano, Nathan Norman: Drummer and Terryann Nash: American Sign Language Performance Interpreter) brought down the house!
I was invited to perform along with Thomasina as her guest ASL performing interpreter and I was honored to do so. When I created my company (Nashinspired LLC. 2017), it was my mission to be a branding company dedicated to creating economic equity in the Deaf and Harding of Hearing communities by bridging community and creating opportunity.Through her passion for inclusivity Thomasina totally embraced the persona of Nashinspired.
Mrs. Petrus used her platform to bring awareness to the pain and trauma historically felt by communities of color, yet offer a message of peace and hope. She Sung, Strange Fruit, Wonderful world, hosted poet Joe Davis in her space and finish with a celebrity quality salute rendition of a remixed Happy birthday (of old and new). It was a true testament of all that community dedication to changing the conversation.
Thomasina Petrus left the audience with their hearts open and hands signing in unison. They were gently led to sign “What a Wonderful World and I love you”. Watching the audience willingly join in made for a true message that we CAN as a Community. Watching the face of the Deaf guest members will be etched forever in my heart of the tomorrow we CAN all imagine together.