Dear Friends of 59E59,
This week we’ve watched the devastating unfolding of incidents of racially motivated violence and discrimination, from the threatening of Christian Cooper in New York City’s Central Park to the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis which sparked protests nationwide.
“The waves of protests across the country represent a genuine and legitimate frustration over a decades-long failure to reform police practices and the broader criminal justice system in the United States. The overwhelming majority of participants have been peaceful, courageous, responsible, and inspiring. They deserve our respect and support.” Barack Obama (June 1, 2020)
You come to our theater for exploration and empathy, connection, and community, and so we feel it’s important to acknowledge this moment of deep pain and heartache in our homes and in homes across the country.
Attending the theater for many of us is cathartic. The stories on our stages serve as a vehicle through which we are able to have difficult conversations with friends and family, to celebrate our differences, and connect through our shared experiences. Now, more than ever, we feel the absence of not being able to gather together in-person. The staff of 59E59 Theaters met this morning, heavy-hearted, for our daily zoom check-in and vowed to renew our commitment to listen, support, and educate ourselves. While work is paused on our stages, our staff is using this time for self-reflection, to re-examine our organization's practices, and to build an anti-racism action plan to ensure we are upholding principles of equity, diversity and inclusion in every facet of our business when we re-open. We encourage you, our community, to join us in raising our collective voice once again to acknowledge that we can do better.
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” Maya Angelou
There are extensive resources available to support the fight against racial justice. We’ve compiled a short list of articles and tools below to support us all in learning together.
In honor of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many more.
59E59 Theaters Team
Resources for Families
Katrina Michie: Your Kids Aren't Too Young to Talk About Race
Urban poverty disproportionately affects people of color. If you are interested in supporting a local organization committed to social change and equal opportunity, we encourage you to find out more about Urban Upbound. 59E59 Theaters partners with Urban Upbound, creating work placement and employment opportunities within our theater for young people from their programs in Queens and Brooklyn. Visit Urban Upbound for more information on all their programs and how you can help.