Last week, while the certification of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as next President and Vice-President of the United States was in process, we witnessed a disgraceful and deadly terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol. Even though this egregious act of white supremacy may not have been surprising given the current administration’s four-year assault on our democracy, it was still shocking. To see the sacred seat of our democracy desecrated by Nazi symbols, and calculated violence was disturbing and violating--and we know it could have been even worse.
Capitol Hill was constructed on the unceded lands of the Nacotchtank (Anacostan) and Piscataway, and built by the labor of enslaved African Americans. It has never been an uncomplicated place. Yet it has also been the place where the great movements for civil rights and social justice have taken legislative form. For those who’ve spent time on Capitol Hill, who’ve accompanied us on Arts Advocacy Days, it may be difficult to imagine those halls, usually brimming with energy and possibility, filled with tear gas and gunshots.
And we know it may be particularly difficult for those who face the traumas of white supremacy on a daily basis. To our BIPOC colleagues and theatremakers, we see you, and we hope that you’re taking the time you need for self and collective care. To our theatres, we encourage you to make time for your staff to process these events, particularly BIPOC staffers. At TCG, our department of EDI initiatives held an hour-long processing space for staff, and we encourage everyone to take advantage of resources like The Actors’ Fund’s mental health support, which is available to everyone in the performing arts.
We also celebrate the victories of Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in the Georgia Senate run-off election. There may be no more powerful response to the white supremacist insurrection than the election of Georgia’s first Black and Jewish senators. These victories were powered by deep organizing and movement-building led by Black women like Stacy Abrams, Felicia Davis, Deborah Scott, and so many more. For our theatre field, the work of the #WeSeeYouWAT organizers are also transforming our field, and you can read our statement of support here.
At TCG, we’ll continue our work to lead for a just and thriving theatre ecology. We will deepen our commitment to centering BIPOC and BITOC in all of our programming. As theatremakers, we know our gifts for making sacred spaces--spaces of healing, of repair, of transformation, of joy--are needed now more than ever.
Adrian Budhu and Teresa Eyring
Teresa Eyring (she/her/hers)