Friday, March 19, 2021

In theatre for social justice and creative youth development, the term “safe space” is often used. There is a desire for the arts to become a haven for our children in response to the lived experiences that surround them. The reality is that these spaces are not safe for all. 

As we continue to process the horrific, racially-motivated tragedy that happened in Atlanta, Rehearsal for Life recognizes that it will take more than thoughts and prayers. We add our voice to millions of Americans and global citizens who have condemned these acts. Silence is violence. We all must acknowledge that the Asian communities in this nation have long been placed in harm’s way, in part due to the history of racism in this country, but also because actions and microaggressions against the Asian community have not been fully addressed with the urgency necessary to stop them. We all need to name the violence and the harm. We need to be in dialogue with our children. The impact of racist words, actions, stereotypes, and images created the act in Atlanta. It created the horror we have seen happen to countless people of color. We need to hold ourselves accountable for dismantling the circumstances that lead to race-based violence. While in this moment Rehearsal for Life grieves the lives lost in Atlanta, we offer a pledge to action and not simply words. Anti-racism is not an ideal; it is an act.

We encourage everyone in our community to join us in taking action. Below are a few suggestions: 

  • Watch our Urban Improv video addressing the impact of microaggressions and ways to intervene.
  • Attend the Massachusetts Town Hall on Anti-Asian Racism on Thursday, March 25.
  • Explore how youth, and people of all ages, can “Speak Up” against coronavirus racism.
  • Learn the signs of trauma and indicators of racially-induced anxiety on youth.
  • Support the AAPI Community Fund.

We must recognize that students are asked to enter brave spaces — especially now. Each of us must take action to support their bravery. And by taking collective and individual action, together we can one day provide all children creative spaces that will truly be safe.

En paz, 

Elena Velasco, Executive and Artistic Director, and the team at Rehearsal for Life