One month ago, thousands raised their voices to declare that “Black Lives Matter”. Protests happened across the Commonwealth, statues were removed, and books were purchased.
But for anyone who was tempted to believe that racism stops at the borders of a liberal enclave, last Friday serves as a stark reminder of why the Black Lives Matter movement is so imperative and why we all have a role to play. A Boston Globe moderated conversation with four of our colleagues about anti-racist theatre was assailed by racist commentary, including threats of violence against the panelists.
The hate speech that targeted our friends last week is not an isolated episode. It stems directly from systems of white supremacy that have invaded all our upbringings at some level, resulting in a racial bias that we all have a duty to diligently examine and purge.
These are days where our better actions are required as a cure for ignorant words.
At the Lyric Stage, we encourage our family, including our artists and audiences, to continue our work in dismantling white supremacy. We encourage our family to hold accountable media outlets (including The Boston Globe, Facebook, and the Lyric Stage) to guarantee safe havens for conversation free from hate. We encourage everyone to become better educated on the history of white supremacy in our country and to help all of us craft strategies for its eradication. We have included links at the bottom of this post to direct you towards organizations and resources that you can learn from and support.
At the Lyric Stage, in any other year, we would be just finishing our season and be deep in preparations for the next. This year, however, is different. While we are working harder than ever to create a season we can present to you, our time at home is also allowing us to each examine how our processes and patterns contribute to the problem. We are examining not just the titles we produce or who is on our stage but rather how we work at every level in our goal of becoming an anti-racist organization. Some of these changes will be visible, some will not. They are all necessary.
We love live theatre because we have a passion for sharing stories and for engaging with the stories of others. This type of hatred is antithetical to the spirit of empathy that must pervade live theatre.