Across the United States, Americans are struggling to come to terms with the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020. Floyd’s death and subsequent Black Lives Matter protests across the nation have prompted reflection and discussion among Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble’s artists, staff, and board. The following statement is a reflection of those conversations.
Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble believes in the inherent dignity of all human beings. We stand with those across the country who mourn the deaths of Black Americans whose lives are unjustly taken by members of law enforcement. We acknowledge the insidious force of structural racism and cultural bigotry that impacts the life of every Black citizen of this nation.
We recognize that the overwhelmingly white population of our area creates unique challenges for people of color who live here—be they lifelong residents, students at our local universities, or those who have moved for employment opportunities. Important, hard conversations and decisions must be prioritized within our community and our theater to make Bloomsburg a more welcoming, respectful, and safe environment for people of color.
The employees of BTE recognize the unearned privileges from which we benefit and our fragility as a predominantly white collective. Undoubtedly, there are moments in our history that have made employees, guest artists, and audiences of color uncomfortable. Many have been generous with their feedback despite the emotional labor required. We have no defense—only our pledge to do better.
When we are able to re-open our doors and return to MainStage and educational programming, BTE pledges to examine our efforts and self-education regarding in-house practices and our contributions to the community at large and to create greater opportunity and agency for all artists—Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. BTE affirms the power of live theatre as a tool for understanding. We will do the work to align our behaviors with our intentions.