Black Lives Matter. Truth Matters. Justice Matters. With anguish and rage, the playwrights, staff and board of New Dramatists stand strong with those in Minneapolis, New York, Louisville, and around the country seeking justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, and now David McAtee, and the countless others who have lost their lives and have been victims of state sanctioned violence. It is our ethical and moral responsibility to demand justice for these deaths and other heinous acts of murder and violence against trans, black and brown people, and to actively participate in dismantling the systems of white supremacy, racism, division and inequity that make this violence common place and allow it to go unpunished.
We mourn together the loss of these innocent lives, and our hearts go out to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, David McAtee, among others, and those in our community who are hurting and experiencing this trauma personally.
New Dramatists is committed to being a safe place for all, and in January 2017, as part of The Ghostlight Project, New Dramatists publicly declared its commitment to listening for and manifesting ways to deepen compassion in our organization and to keep expanding our community to represent all lived experiences. The ghost light symbolizes safe harbor for those among us who find themselves targets and victims of hate crimes. Unfortunately, we can’t physically gather to take refuge in our building at this time, however, the ethos remains, and the light symbolizes a belief that through our actions change is possible. And we urgently need greater and more conscious action now.
Our playwrights, staff and board are engaged in honest examination, assessment and rigorous discussion about what concrete actions we can take in the context of our current times. This is and will be an ongoing conversation that must be reflected in every aspect of how we function as an organization and as a community.
As we confront, interrogate and deepen our own practices to intentionally seek out, hold space for, empower and lift the voices of our playwrights and theatre makers, particularly Black, Indigenous, Asian American, Latinx, Middle Eastern, and LGBTQIA+ current and alumni playwrights and beloved members of our extended community, audience and colleagues, we encourage all citizens to unite and stand up for justice and civil rights, and to use the power of your voices and imaginations to envision and build a brighter, more humane, equitable and truly democratic future.
New Dramatists is committed to partnering in these endeavors to facilitate transformative change. It is our responsibility to respond to the pain this is causing in our artistic community and our cities. We recognize that until black and brown lives are valued and celebrated, not targeted—and centered in times of joy as well as trauma—none can be truly free, and none can be truly equal. The protection of Black lives, Black voices, Black culture and the Black imagination should be a core value of every American theater.
We must do the continuous work of dismantling white supremacy in acts and systems alike. We must work harder and better to be of service, demonstrate love and heal our society so that all may live free.