This statement was drafted on June 3rd, 2020 by MAP staff, students and board of directors.
Dear MAP Community,
It’s taken us a while to draft this statement. Not because we were hesitant to make it, but because it was so important to us to make sure the voices of the young people we work with were included in the development of this statement. We remain engaged with online programming with our students as they navigate the immense challenge of distance learning and living through the current state of crisis and fear.
This week has shaken us all and made us look closely at ourselves – where do we stand as an anti-racist organization and community of artists, educators, and students, and what is our role moving forward?
Over the past few years, MAP has actively been interrogating our internal practices and doing critical work to make sure equity, diversity and inclusion are central to our operations. And our purpose, our reason for being, is to bring the voices of young people of color to the public stage to strengthen their resilience and power, and to help them use their voices for social justice, because THEIR (OUR) VOICES NEED TO BE HEARD.
As playwrights we believe that every person is capable of finding themselves in the shoes of others, despite differences. We believe it is our responsibility to act with radical empathy, something that playwriting brings out in us. We believe in operating every day with the understanding that everyone has the empathic capacity to take action to change the world and intervene in racism, wherever we can – whether it is in Minneapolis, at the border in Arizona, or here in Providence.
When we see acts of racism that result in the murders of people of color, we are filled with sadness and anger, because we see the ways that systemic racism relies on a lack of empathy, of love, of humanity. Today and everyday, we stand in solidarity with those in protest. We pledge to see you, hear you, mourn with you, and fight for justice with you.
And we pledge to step up.
We pledge to use our work as playwrights to be the voices of those that have been silenced.
We pledge to keep learning, keep asking questions, and keep listening.
We pledge to play our parts to dismantle the racism that impacts the health and well-being of our community.
We pledge to not stay silent in the face of injustice.
We pledge to try to create change for future generations!
With love and in solidarity,
The Manton Avenue Project