Content Warning: Description of systemic and recent instances of violence against black people.
On February 23rd, Ahmaud Arbery was tracked down and killed by two white men while he was on a jog in Brunswick, Georgia. On March 13th, Breona Taylor was killed in her home in Louisville, Kentucky by police officers in plain clothes on a “no knock warrant,” who claimed to have mistaken her for a different suspect. Last week, George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota by a white police officer using immoral, violent force. The statistics around COVID infections tell us that the majority of people dying from the virus are Black, Indigenous, and people of color. With this information, many states are still deciding to open up for business. Black people are under attack in this country. Not to mention the emotional toll– the stress, the grief, the anxiety, the anger, and the fear (to name a few)– all of this information takes on black people having to witness, again and again, the replaying of real time violence on black bodies.
Though it may be easy to distance ourselves from these instances of violence by saying that it’s happening over there and things are better here in the Bay Area, we at Cal Shakes know that we all can play an active role, at all times, in contributing to a more safe, supportive, and just world for black people.
As a company striving for equity, diversity, and inclusion, we believe it is our responsibility to respond publicly in this moment in support of black people. We believe that Black Lives Matter. We care about black people’s safety and ability to thrive. We strive to work against anti-black racism in our workplace, our audiences, our lives, and our theater. We know that racism is carried out and supported by institutions and systems all the time and requires consistent, intentional anti-racism to dismantle.
Black people make up members of Cal Shakes’ staff, audiences, community partners, board, artists, and student groups. Black people are our family, and deserve long-term safety, respect, self-determination, resources, and support.
With this in our minds and hearts, we invite everyone to take direct actions to support the movement work happening around George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, as well as support local black-led organizations and communities.
Some quick asks:
- Please consider signing this petition: Color of Change
- Please do not repost videos of the direct violence out of consideration for black people in our community. Many have spoken publicly about the re-traumatizing effect these videos have on black people. Instead, please share resources, direct action pathways, and support.
- Please consider giving your black employees paid leave during this time.
Below are additional resources:
On-Going Document of Resources for Black Artists in the Bay Area — please contribute to this list if you have resources to share.
Please consider supporting these organizations that Cal Shakes partners with that support black communities in the East Bay:
Other local and national organizations you can support:
Black Trans Circles at Transgender Law Center