TCG is committed to defending Black Life, honoring Black Histories, and supporting Black Futures. As the national organization for theatre, we do so primarily through centering Black Theatres and Black Theatre-workers, and by disrupting and dismantling anti-Blackness and white supremacy. TCG cannot fulfill our mission of leading for a just and thriving theatre ecology unless Black Lives Matter, both within our theatres and our broader culture.
In doing this work, we follow the leadership of Black Networks, both within and beyond our theatre ecology, including but not limited to the following growing list of organizations that we encourage all theatre people to follow and support:
We also support Black Theatres, and especially the elders of Black Theatre including those featured in our Legacy Leaders of Color Video Project (LLCVP): Lou Bellamy, Woodie King Jr., Jackie Taylor, and Douglas Turner Ward. We publish Black authors, many of whom are featured in The Ground on Which I Stand. We cover Black Theatre and Black Theatre-Workers in American Theatre’s State of Black Theatre special issue from March 2019, as well as the September 2020 special issue, Trans Voices Lead The Way, which includes Black TGNC artists like Goddess. Wriply M. Bennet and Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi. American Theatre also covers the intersections between our field and the broader Black Lives Matter movement, through articles like U.S. Theatres Stand With the Movement for Racial Justice and The Ferguson Theatre Syllabus.
We're committed to the just resourcing of Black Theatres, which for too long have been denied equitable access to funding. We're currently hosting special info and technical assistance sessions for Black Theatres, Indigenous Theatres, and/or Theatres of Color (BITOC) to access the federal relief funds in SVOG, PPP, and ERTC. We also convene Black Theatres with other Theatres of Color through Cohort 4 of the EDI Institute and BITOC affinity spaces at all of our gatherings. At our 2020 National Conference, we went dark in solidarity with the uprising after George Floyd's murder, and centered that and all subsequent convenings around BITOC and BIPOC.
We're committed to supporting white theatre workers in meeting the #WeSeeYou demands, as well as meeting them ourselves, as part of disrupting and dismantling anti-Blackness and white supremacy. Activating and organizing predominantly white theatres and white theatre-workers toward anti-racist learning and action is TCG's responsibility as the national service organization for theatre, and as a predominantly white organization ourselves.
The following message was shared with the field during the uprising for Black lives in Freedom Summer of 2020, which was the largest protest movement in U.S. History. We'll continue to hold ourselves accountable to the spirit of the message below, and to share our actions here, along with further resources and actions to end anti-Blackness and white supremacy.
A message to the field from TCG’s executive director/CEO Teresa Eyring, deputy director/COO Adrian Budhu, and the team at TCG
We are in grief and rage over the murder of George Floyd. George was described by his family as a “gentle giant” who “would light up the room.” We say his name as we say the names of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and all those whose lives have been taken by anti-Blackness and police brutality.
These murders have occurred amid resurgent anti-Black violence and a pandemic that has disproportionately impacted communities of color. We know that protesters across many cities have been met with violence, leading to an escalation that has included violent rhetoric from the President and the deployment of the National Guard and military. We stand in solidarity with those who cry, “no justice, no peace.”
To our Black friends and loved ones, we see you, and we know you’re exhausted. We know that part of your exhaustion comes from the heartbreak of our silence, inaction, and half-measures. We must do better, and we will. In the next few days, we’ll outline how we’ll use our virtual national conference to mount a sustained response to the urgency of this moment and this movement. Whatever we do, we’ll follow the lead of the Black theatre-makers and activists who have been leading this struggle for generations.
Please know that you are not alone, and our field of theatre-makers stands ready to support you. Police brutality and White supremacy must be dismantled, and we look forward to working with all theatre people to use our power as culture-makers to end it.