Black Lives Matter.
Dear Friends of Building for the Arts,
These are extraordinarily challenging times, and we hope this message finds you healthy and safe. We have been thinking of you.
Specifically, we’ve been working to determine how we can best fulfill our promise to you – a promise, as our mission states, to “set the stage for communities to thrive through creative cultural efforts.”
Right now, though, our communities are not thriving. Our communities are in pain.
We are outraged by the killing of Black people, and we recognize that none of the recent racially motivated acts of tragic violence are isolated incidents. Centuries-old systemic racism continues to plague our justice system and, indeed, our society as a whole. We must stand up for our community of Black artists, Black educators, Black students, Black theatergoers, and Black staff members, and we must defend their essential rights. Black Lives Matter. Enough is enough.
At BFA, we remain steadfastly committed to accessibility and inclusion, and we are challenging ourselves to do more to advance anti-racism, social justice, and equity. It is time for BFA to better serve as a strong leader for our community. We are working to fulfill that role. At Theatre Row
, we will continue to prioritize diversity and inclusion as we seek to expand our Companies-in-Residence program. With Music and the Brain
, we will continue providing critical music literacy and keyboard curriculum – free of charge – to schools primarily serving Black and Brown children. With those students in mind, we will further strengthen our focus on self-affirming, representative images and content. Additionally, as a team, we commit to the following actions within the next year:
- Scheduling Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion training annually. First, we’ll work with Senior Leadership and Board Members, and we’ll follow up with our entire staff.
- Creating a working group of staff and Board Members to establish and advance specific Equity, Diversity and Inclusion values within the organization.
- Adopting and publishing a formal Equity, Diversity and Inclusion statement. It will guide us and remind us that we have room to grow. It will be featured prominently on our office walls and on our website.
We hope that you will take action, as well. Here are a few resources for activism, education, and healing:
- Black Lives Matter is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.
- The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. is America’s premier legal organization fighting for racial justice.
- The Southern Poverty Law Center is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society.
- Alesha Harris & The Movement Theatre Company’s Love Letters to Black People: This project counters the bombardment of negative imagery related to Black people with uplifting words. Treat yourself to these letters and submit one of your own.
- List of Anti-Racism Reading & Resources
- The Race Matters Institute helps organizations develop policies, programs, practices, and protocols that achieve more equitable outcomes for all children, families, and communities.
- The League of Resident Theatres Resources for Racial Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Resources for racial diversity, equity and inclusion to help you and your organization.
Through both Theatre Row and Music and the Brain, we nurture emerging artists, audiences, and youth with a focus on accessibility and inclusion. There has never been a more pressing time to ensure that we’re living up to that promise, and we hope that you’ll join us in our efforts to do so.
We look forward to gathering together again as soon as we can so that we can continue the conversation in person.
Toward justice and progress,
Building for the Arts