We find ourselves at the limits of the sayable. No statement is sufficient to name our disgust with the systems of oppression that target, marginalize, and brutalize black bodies and all persons of color. No expression of solidarity, from us or any other theater company, is enough. Language can be self-protectionist and hollow, a way to excuse ourselves from the difficulty of action, a way to signal theoretical values that never make their way to implementation. We encourage all of our ensemble members, board members, and audience members to take direct action to address not just police brutality, but the whole web of injustice and discrimination that sustains a society whose original sin was the enslavement of our black brothers and sisters. We have no justice until there is justice for all.
We reject any form of capitalist society built on the inequities of slave labor, on the theft of land and freedom, that profits off of racialized imprisonment, that uses a militarized police force to uphold the privilege and accumulated wealth of whiteness while villainizing systemically impoverished communities of color. Where there is fear for one, there is no freedom for all. Political change is necessary—we must fight to overturn the insidious law of qualified immunity. But this will never be enough.
Theatre Y believes in pursuing radical, self-effacing, sacrificial love. We believe in staring down the ugliness of the truth and the ugliness in our own hearts. Although our company is on the long road of fighting for equity, diversity, and inclusion within our own ranks, this is not enough. Although we are in the midst of re-evaluating our own mission and values, this is not enough. We will continue to embrace a free theater model to eliminate economic barriers to our community, but this is not enough. We will continue providing movement therapy for trauma rehabilitation in Chicago’s prisons, but this is not enough. This whole statement is not enough. A statement is a declaration, not a dialogue, and no one needs more ineffectual declarations of good intentions. We commit ourselves to the infinite conversation of justice. We commit ourselves to holding ourselves accountable. We invite all of you to hold our feet to the fire.
With love and solidarity,