If your feminism doesn’t address and aim to dismantle anti-Black racism, it isn’t feminism.
Nightwood Theatre unequivocally condemns the systemic racism and persistent threats to Black and Indigenous lives, and adds our voices toward seeking urgent justice.
Folks in the community have rightly asked what theatre companies are doing to address anti-Black racism within their organizations, versus sharing platitudes, graphics and being alert this week, only to go back to ‘normal’.
In this moment I want us to get out of the way.
Nightwood recognizes its complicity in this system. Nightwood is an institution that has always been led by white women. As the AD, I recognize that for my strengths, my compassion, and my place in the patriarchy as a straight-passing queer woman, my whiteness and my numerous levels of privilege means that I will forever possess gaps in my lived experience. I know my community needs this feminist company to commit to a future successorship with a woman* of colour. It should be noted that our organizational understanding of woman* goes beyond the limits of cis womanhood, a deep belief that we have been working to embed in our values and artistic expression.
What I can offer from my heart is that Nightwood prioritizes hiring IBPOC women, as we esteem the knowledge that comes from the intersectionalities of lived experience. When we select our new hires, our future board members, our OAC RGTC artists, our Young Innovators and our Write From The Hip writers, our directors, playwrights, designers and actors, we prioritize women of colour because that is who theatre (as a reflection of the world) needs at the centre of its future. In our space we have deep talks about race to confront Nightwood’s historical institutional whiteness, and continue to educate ourselves in anti-oppression internally and externally. And we know there are still voices missing at our table. We need more Black women shaping the culture of this organization.
In our staff conversation yesterday, in defence of the act of cataloguing the steps we are taking and will take, it was said by one of our trusted staff members, “people of colour need to know where they are safe”. We want Nightwood to be safe. And we know that in creating that space, Nightwood can do more. The “more” is something we continue to develop. For those interested, we’re creating a living document that will be made public in the coming weeks for those who seek it on our website, to account for what Nightwood has been doing, intends to do in the short term, and are working toward building in the future. We will welcome your comments in that draft – Nightwood is here in service to our community and we want to know, hard as it is to swallow, where we’re failing and how we can do better.
In the meantime, we have postponed our online Lawyer Show Cabaret this Saturday June 6th in order to throw focus to where it belongs, and to take the time to further contemplate our participation in systems we believe in dismantling. This event will resurface on June 18th, and will amplify the numerous worthy organizations who require funds at this time of uprising.
We will do more to listen, learn and amplify.
Black Lives Matter.
Andrea, on behalf of all of us at Nightwood Theatre
PLEASE CONSIDER SUPPORTING THE FOLLOWING ORGANIZATIONS:
Canada’s largest chapter of the global Black Lives Matter movement is a coalition of Black community members, students, artists, activists and organizers working for the elimination of anti-Black racism, state-sanctioned and institutional violence. Black Lives Matter has chapters across the world including three in Canada: Vancouver, Toronto, and Waterloo. Learn more about the movement.
Founded in 2017, the Black Legal Action Centre is a non-profit corporation that offers legal aid services to low and no income black residents of Ontario. The services, which include legal representation, advice, and support, are completely free to those who qualify. Donate to the Black Legal Action Centre.
This Toronto-based, youth-led organization “empowers and supports the advancement of black womxn and survivors of sexual violence” through training and advocacy work.
The organizers of the #JusticeForRegis protest have teamed up with the food access organization to offer free food boxes to Black families self-isolating after attending the march. Sign up here, and donate to FoodShare here.
This community health centre provides care for women in African and Caribbean (as well as Latin American and South Asian) communities.