As theatres around the country demonstrate their support for the Black Lives Matter movement and pledge to be more inclusive, non-profit organization Black Theatre Girl Magic has penned an open letter to the theatre industry with actionable steps that can be taken towards a more equitable future for Black, Indigenous, and Non-Black People of Color.
"The time has come for you to demonstrate your commitment not only to speaking out about racism, but also to actively being anti-racist," reads the letter, which is addressed to American regional and community theatres. Read it in full here.
Some of the steps include Joy Jackson Initiative's Assessment, a tool that guides arts organizations through a series of questions to identify harmful past behavior, and challenges them to formulate actionable solutions; a referral list of Black educators from which to receive anti-racism training; and a reading list for white readers looking to dismantle racism.
The letter also outlines a number of expectations moving forward: to see more female-identifying BIPOC on theatres' Boards of Directors; the hiring of more Black and Brown artistic directors, educators, and designers; more Black producers, directors, and technicians; for BIPOC artists to direct work by playwrights of color; the administering of zero-tolerance policies on racism; and the presence of inclusive systems of Human Resources and accountability that provides effective leadership when a person of color experiences hostile work situations.
"Please know that we support you and want you to succeed. We are stronger and better TOGETHER!" concludes the letter. "... Neglecting to address these inequities in your organization will no longer be ignored or swept under the rug. We strive for tangible impact over good intentions."
The letter, which was published on Medium, is fortified by a widely circulated letter, penned by 300 BIPOC artists, addressed to the White American Theater earlier this month, exposing the indignities and racism that BIPOC, and in particular Black theatre makers, face on a day-to-day basis.