The past several days have been incredibly difficult. There have been so many extreme emotions to process – sadness, hurt, frustration, disgust, rage – around the blatant acts of racism we have all been witness to recently.
For many of us this isn’t new. We experience it everyday. But this doesn’t mean that it hurts us any less. We know that it doesn’t mean that racism is increasing; it is simply being exposed – and caught on video.
We are devastated and appalled by what we have seen, both here at home and abroad. It’s horrifying. It’s demoralizing. And it’s wrong. We are grieving. We are heartbroken. It made us reflective. It made us quiet. But now is no longer the time for silence.
Black communities around the world are suffering. Yes, it can be hard to speak out and act against this kind of injustice – but we must. It’s our collective responsibility. Black lives and Black families are being destroyed by unnecessary acts of violence and it’s time for it to stop. The murder of George Floyd has sparked a new wave of protests the world over because, quite simply, we have had enough. There are also countless other Black lives that have been lost due of police brutality and gross abuses of power, often in anonymity. It’s become a pattern. And we need to break it.
True change cannot happen without the acknowledgement of the systemic injustices present in our society. Anti-Blackness is not only an American problem. We have our own battles here, coming from both the general population and from elected officials in positions of power. Black Theatre Workshop was created as a direct result of the blatant racism that exists specifically in Quebec. Anyone who can publicly state that there is no systemic racism in this province is operating from a place of extreme privilege and abundant ignorance at best.
Enough is enough. The time for change is now.
In the days and weeks ahead, we will make sure to continue to give a place where our community can be heard, can tell our stories and have a voice.
But we will take this time to work hard at making the voices louder – undeniable.
We will do what it takes to help our Black brothers and sisters to feel loved, safe, respected and proud.
We challenge you to do the same.
We will not fall.
We will rise.
Just watch us.
Black Theatre Workshop