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About Parfait Bassalé

A life long journey building bridges through music...

Native of Benin Republic, Parfait Bassalé began using music to process hurt, at a young age. Because his father worked for an overseas company, Parfait faced the challenges related to immigration early in life (language barriers, ethnocentrism, othering..). In his own words:

"I have been the man standing at the door for the bulk of my life and I did not have words for it. Whether because I did not force my way into spaces or was not invited in. The hurt and insight of being on the fringes of spaces has fueled the passion to help people build relational bridges.  

Keeping up with the tradition of Blues music, songs and poetry became his preferred outlets for dealing with the pain caused by the empathy gap he witnessed in his encounters across continents and cultures.

His interest in conflict resolution and prevention led him down the path of empathy and interpersonal neurobiology. Parfait earned a Masters of Arts from Portland State University in Conflict Resolution. Additionally, Parfait has years of experience leading and consulting with both private and public sectors, on matters of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. He is currently the director of Diversity Equity and inclusion at South Puget Sound Community College and the co-chair of the Institution wide DEI committee. He brings over 20 years of field experience, coupled with his passion and lived story to every speaking engagement and coaching session. Parfait shares his critical message of empathy through the Story and Song Centered Pedagogy; a framework that leverages the introspective virtues of music and the power of stories to shape and alter meaning.

 

BE THE BRIDGE

When tensions are high and distrust is rampant; when empathy is perceived as weakness and compromise dimmed a zero sum game; how do we disrupt the narrative that has brought about such an inescapable reality? How do we unstuck from the fatality of reactivity that demands entrenchment and dehumanization of those we disagree with? 

To restore movement forward, we must courageously take action. We must vulnerably rise up from the muddy waters, with our feet still firmly planted in them, and extend an arm, a hand, maybe a finger to begin building the bridge; the only hope for reconciliation and healing.

"Would you be that bridge?

Cause I don’t want to be the bridge

Although I know one of us should be

Do you care to be the bridge?

What would it take for us to trade places?
It's getting old playing safe
So much at stake
Our children don't deserve this
We need a bridge between us."
(The Bridge, Parfait)