Statement on Black Lives Matter, racial equity, and justice

First, an apology. We know this statement comes too late. We apologize for not being at the forefront of this important discussion. Faculty, staff, and administrators of the African American Theatre Program and Department of Theatre Arts hold ourselves accountable for any harm that we have caused. We will strive to do better.

The Department of Theatre Arts and the African American Theatre Program support Black Lives Matter and other groups and communities engaging in protests in Louisville and beyond. While we cannot all deeply understand the pain that the African American community has been suffering over the past 400 years in the United States, we hear you, we see you, and we stand with you. Racial violence and injustice are products of racism perpetuated in our society. Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and David McAtee’s deaths further confirm that racism frustrates, angers, and deeply hurts us and others affected by these acts of police brutality and systemic oppression. The Department of Theatre Arts and the African American Theatre Program stand in solidarity with students, artists, scholars and members of the Black community and their allies and organizations working toward racial equity and justice. 

Our mission is “Art in Action”: theatre that is engaged and inclusive, rigorous and enjoyable, thoughtful and transformative. Our mission must be enacted. To that end, we will continue to elevate the voices of black playwrights, performers, and theatre makers while creating work that challenges systemic bias. 

We will also critically engage in dialogue and action in the following ways: 

  • We reassert our pledge to annually produce two African American Theatre Program shows in our 2020-21 and future Mainstage seasons, and to annually produce the MLK Day celebration.
  • We will continue to engage in inclusivity and anti-racism training. 
  • We recommit to increasing the diversity of the Theatre Arts faculty, staff, and students.
  • We renew our support of our students, dedication to uplifting student voices of protest, and commitment to advocating for a student platform on our Department stages and in the community. 
  • We reaffirm our commitment to community engagement and partnerships.
  • We will work to foster a brave space for our students and audiences to safely create, collaborate, and challenge authoritative systems.

In solidarity,

The Department of Theatre Arts 

The African American Theatre Program