We are all reflecting on the tragic end of the life of George Floyd and the events that are surrounding it. When I think of the long and painful narrative of our nation that enabled them, I cannot help but feel that we are moving backwards, rather than being the forward thinking country we claim to be. As a friend stated, “our job is to listen.” We must do that and more. We must educate ourselves and actively show our support, not just today but always.
A powerful lyric from the musical Ragtime comes to mind: “We can never go back to before.” We cannot! We are facing a national crisis, but there are things we can do to change the future narrative for the better. Protesting, speaking up, standing in solidarity and donating to help underserved communities are all essential acts right now. We can also vote to insure the future. I am very proud of all my theatre colleagues who are standing together with the voice that honors diversity and freedom; and that advocates for empathy and values essential now and for the future.
Hughie Lee-Smith, Confrontation, ca. 1970, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum.