Jun 12, 2020

We Stand with You

Dear Ritz Friends and Family,

The past few weeks have proven to bring new attention to a vital cultural movement, one that requires support and furtherance from all of us. We find ourselves in the midst of a vastly pivotal time in this nation, a time in which the call to end systemic, longstanding racism and inequality is not only loud and clear within the black community, but also bolstered by contingents from myriad industries who are ready and raring to take action. The Ritz Theatre Company proudly and wholeheartedly joins these contingents. We stand in solidarity with the oppressed, we stand strong with the oppressed, and we are eager to take action.

We also understand that our desire for reform must begin within our own walls, as the theatre industry is certainly not faultless in terms of fostering practices and methodologies that, whether conscious or not, advance discrimination and inequity. Earlier this week, a community of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) theatre-makers united to present a letter calling for true and lasting change in today’s theatrical landscape, writing in part that inaction, indifference, and permeating silence within the “White American Theater” has led to limited opportunities and crushed livelihoods, reinforcing a socio-cultural pandemic that has exasperated far too many, for far too long. (Read the letter in its entirety here.)

We hear such voices with a full heart and are unequivocally committed to change. Inaction, indifference, and silence must forever be replaced by involvement, evolvement, and resolve. In the past, we have refused to be deterred by racist, prejudiced opinions in relation to our programming and our creative personnel, but we need to be more proactive (and reactive) than ever before. There is still much work to do. The mountain might be high, but it must be climbed. And we start up that mountain today.

We have assembled an advocacy coalition of black and POC artists from the area to discuss with us how we can make improvements to our overall operation and how we can make our theatre as all-inclusive and all-embracing as can be. Our first meeting is tonight. It is our hope to craft a clear, concrete plan on how we can advance, enhance, and empower BIPOC artists and voices not just on our stage, but beyond our stage. The ultimate endgame, of course, is absolute equality and empowerment. Again, this is only the beginning. We’re inspired, we’re galvanized, we’re geared up. Let’s get to work.

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