Content Warning: This post discusses anti-Black racism and recent violence against Black people. It contains images from protests demanding justice for George Floyd. It can be viewed without images at this link.
For the record:
Black lives matter.
Black futures matter.
Black people deserve better.
Black people are under constant attack in this country, and it’s our responsibility as an organization rooted in equity, diversity and inclusion to speak out publicly against these human rights violations.
To our Black artists, administrators, and audience members: We see your pain. Your rage, your anger, your grief. We're holding space for you. We care deeply about your safety; not only your ability to survive in this world, but to thrive. You are a vibrant, vital and irreplaceable part of our community.
We hold no room for racism in our workplace, our audiences, or our stages.
We know that racism is systemic and requires consistent and intentional action to dismantle. We commit to doing that work every day.
Allyship is an action, not a state of being.
Data analysis tells us that BIPOC make up the majority of deaths from COVID-19 but our country is still actively reopening because white people want haircuts.
“We are failing on two counts," says Julie Ouellette, Producing Artistic Director of The Commons. "We're failing as a society and we're failing as an industry.
Our industry thrives on the idea of 'Diversity & Inclusion.' We regularly put Black bodies on our stages, our social media feeds, our member brochures, and our grant applications. And now that very community that we say we support needs our voices.
How dare we not stand beside them?
The silence from the entertainment industry this week has been deafening. And as long as we remain silent, we will continue to fail.
We cannot only uplift BIPOC artists when it raises our bottom line. We cannot say we celebrate a community one minute, and the next minute turn our backs on them. Our industry has to stop profiting off of Black bodies."
At The Commons, we know that it’s our job to actively work to make our industry a safer place for Black artists and audience members to be. We don’t take that responsibility lightly.
With that in mind, we invite everyone reading this to take direct action:
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
A Short List of Resources And Possible Starting Points
Take time to learn about recent and historical violence against Black people in our country. The names and links in our post above are a good starting point.
Remember that it's not the job of the BIPOC in your life to educate you on how to deal with racism. Educate yourself instead of relying on them to educate you.
Read this list of 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice
Read and re-read this post about What To Do Instead of Calling the Police
Please do not repost videos of direct violence on social media. Don't understand why? Learn How Videos of Police Brutality Traumatize African Americans and Undermine the Fight for Justice
Learn how you can support Black owned businesses and organizations
Fighting Racism In Your Own Organization
If your organization has a Diversity/Equity/Inclusion statement, take the time to create and publish a proactive Anti-Racism Policy. Put It in writing. Make It actionable. Make It public. It's time we let ourselves be held accountable.
Give your Black employees paid leave during this time so they can mourn.
Remember that organizational attitudes are built from the top down. The first step to eradicating racism in your organization is to eradicate it in yourself.
The Commons has donated to the following organizations.