Black Lives Matter
We at Young People’s Theatre have been grappling with crafting a meaningful response to this critical moment in race relations. We want to offer our voices and influence to the cause of ending racial injustice across the globe. Where are the leaders who can ensure all people will finally be treated equally, without exception? If real change doesn’t come now, then when? How can YPT step up?
Our artistic work has always been about using theatre to nurture hope. Children’s development – their future – is dependent on their ability to live in the hope that, despite the mistakes that come with learning, they will grow fully into their unique selves; hope that their talents will be valued; hope they can participate entirely in all the wonders of the world.
But for Black and Indigenous children right now and throughout much of recent history, this very hope is under threat. Looking at the news and hearing the hateful words being spoken, how can these children feel safe, let alone hopeful?
Like it or not, the power, responsibility and opportunity to change this situation lies mostly with White people. Sorry if such a bald statement makes you uncomfortable… but isn’t it just true?
It’s time for many people to step up and to venture into uncomfortable subjects. We pledge to do so at YPT. We know we have work to do. We need to examine all the ways in which we are — and are not — living up to our oft-spoken values of equality and diversity. We need to give more of our privileged space to other voices and leaders. We need to keep this discussion and this work alive even when it isn’t the lead in the news.
With help from some of our community and friends, we found some homework that we’d like to share with you and your family:
For parents of White children, here are some resources that might give you a new perspective:
• Common Sense Media resources about race and racism
• Helping Kids Process Violence, Trauma, and Race in a World of Nonstop News (online forum)
• Talking with Children About Racism, Police Brutality and Protests
For adults only, watch this engaging and on-point talk from Dr. Robin DiAngelo, author of White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism.
To parents of Black children, we know you are already working hard to teach and protect your children because the world right now can be very difficult for them. The following forums may be of interest to you:
• University of Toronto Online Forum on June 11: Talking About Racism at Home
To artists, parents, teachers, students and leaders, we urge you to let us know when you see YPT failing to live up to the values we espouse. We will thank you, even if it’s uncomfortable.