LETTER FROM THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR JUNE 5, 2020
#PENUMBRASTRONG || Letter from Sarah Bellamy, current events, and more
Greetings Dear Community,
Over the last week, so many people have asked me what they can do. It’s a wonderful impulse, and I appreciate that you want to know how to help. I would say that in some ways it depends on who you are.
For black folks who are experiencing rolling episodes of trauma recall due to the murder of George Floyd and the violent ways that some police around the country are engaging with peaceful protestors, I ask that we be gentle with ourselves. Each of us will show up differently-some folks deal with anxiety and grief by needing silence and space; others don’t want to be alone with their thoughts and would rather keep their minds and hands busy with doing. All of it is okay. Tuning into the fragile voice of intuition during times like these is so very important. Do what you can to find moments of peace, of joy, of release. Permit yourself to show up as you are, offer what you can, or simply rest.
For people of color who don’t identify as black and who may be wrestling with adjacent traumatic responses because of your own experiences of state sanctioned violence and xenophobia, I would ask you to remember that you have allies in the black community. Our analysis allows us to see the parallels in our collective oppression, even as we must also be surgical in our specificity at times. Take care of your hearts and whenever you are able, please stand with us. Your support is powerful. Know that it will be returned; we see it is needed.
For white folks who may be in various places of engagement and awareness about systemic racism, please don’t allow the shock of witnessing murder make it exceptional. While George Floyd’s precious life was singular, his murder was not. You may be awakening to a sense of the grief and anger that black people have known for generations. Your outrage is not enough. We need you to put those sentiments to work. Be brave enough to tell the truth about what happened here. Tell it again and again and again. Tell it to whomever will listen. Tell it to those who won’t listen. Keep telling it and don’t deviate from the vital heart of it. Correct those who do. Windows can be repaired. Buildings can be rebuilt. A life taken cannot be restored. At the center of all of the noise and chaos and spin, a black man’s life was taken-again. It was taken by someone who believed that the authority of his uniform and the color of his skin exempted him from accountability. We need you to demand that justice be done.
Let us all be mindful of our words. What we say about this moment matters deeply. It communicates our values and sets intentions for the future. How we tell the story of what happened here could change what stories we’ll be telling tomorrow and what stories our children will tell. How we tell this story could change the world.
Finally, I invite everyone to join me tomorrow at 8:46 am for meditation. I ask you to find a quiet space and for eight minutes and forty-six seconds, focus on your breath. Cherish each breath. Breathe deeply. And remember.
Whatever comes out of your meditation can be used for good. Don’t judge it. Make it count.
With abiding love,
“I’m super-excited about Penumbra’s next life cycle that will combine the theatre and a learning center–a place that allows for questioning, reflecting and understanding.”
—Phyllis Goff, Supporter