Lovewell Institute joins the U.S. and the world in mourning the recent senseless killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and David McAtee. Black lives matter, and we stand with those who are working to fight against and dismantle the structures of systemic racism against black people at work in our country now and throughout history. Our hearts are with the BIPOC communities and all who are processing their own pain and rightfully insisting on progress.

 

But we realize that statements of solidarity alone are inadequate.

 

As an entity that considers itself a global community, Lovewell will do more to address the larger issues of racism and inequity in the world and within our own organization. Our core mission has always been to empower all people to find their authentic voices through the creation of collaborative works of theatre. In order to inspire young people and others to speak freely and to create a better world, we must speak out to identify our own privileges and take steps to change.

 

In that spirit, we are sharing with you our initial action toward creating a more equitable organization.

 

This is by no means comprehensive, but we must start somewhere.

 

1. We commit to starting a dialogue for staff and board members, beginning next week with our incoming 2020 summer staff. We will address safe, supportive and constructive ways to speak with students about recent events, and help staff to become more comfortable broaching difficult topics with young people of all backgrounds.

 

2. In August of 2020, we will invite the entire Lovewell community to a discussion about our current workaround diversity and equity, and collaborate on plans for how we can move forward. This discussion will include our future plans for outreach, reflecting upon and reimagining our hiring processes and the diversification of our board moving forward, among other topics.

 

3. We will establish an Advisory Council consisting of staff and students, led by BIPOC staff and students, who will work to: refine our mission statement, enhance and further our statements on diversity and inclusion, and increase our talent recruitment of BIPOC staff and students.

 

4. We commit to transparency as we implement new programs and policies, so everyone in our community can participate in Lovewell’s steps toward equity.

Lovewell, as a small-ish theatre arts nonprofit, is not a monolith. We are a handful of humans who are each on our own individual journeys to listen, learn, and actively work towards becoming anti-racist ourselves. We want to take thoughtful, measured action to make lasting, meaningful changes in our organization. We pledge to do all we can now to make sure change does indeed come, and that it makes a real impact on our students, teaching artists, families, staff, audiences, and communities.

 

A heartfelt thank you to all of you for your patience in waiting for more information around our plans moving forward and to those who have reached out to offer resources and support for taking action. We commit to listening, absorbing, and evolving as a community. We are grateful for the chance to continue working to make Lovewell a place where all people can truly grow and thrive.

 

With heart,

The Lovewell Board & Staff