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Hundreds of BIPOC Theater Artists Call Out Industry Racism in Petition and Statement

Signatories include Lynn Nottage, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and many more luminaries of the theater.

The We See You, White American Theater Logo
(image via www.weseeyouwat.com)

Hundreds of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) theater artists have called out industry racism and white supremacy in a new statement and petition released Monday.

Titled We See You, White American Theater, the petition decries longstanding racial injustice in the theater community, discussing the plethora of ways BIPOC artists are mistreated by producing organizations when it comes to programming seasons, dealing with unions, and earning capital, among other things.

"We have watched you program play after play, written, directed, cast, choreographed, designed, acted, dramaturged and produced by your rosters of white theatermakers for white audiences, while relegating a token, if any, slot for a BIPOC play," it says.

The statement walks in the footsteps of August Wilson's 1996 speech The Ground on Which I Stand, which explores race and the American theater. Each paragraph is punctuated with "We See You."

Signatories include actors, playwrights, directors, designers, and other theatermakers, including playwrights Lynn Nottage, David Henry Hwang, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Karen Zacarias, actors ranging from Lindsay Mendez to Viola Davis, and hundreds more. You can read the full statement and see the undersigned here.

We See You declares an end to the white fragility that has existed for the theater industry's entire history and demands a safer space for BIPOC artists in our country and in the American theater.

"About theatres, executive leaders, critics, casting directors, agents, unions, commercial producers, universities, and training programs. You are all a part of this house of cards built on white fragility and supremacy. And this is a house that will not stand," it concludes. "This ends TODAY. We are about to introduce you...to yourself."

Click here to sign the petition demanding change for BIPOC theatermakers.

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