A Letter from Sarah Bellamy, #BLACKOUTHEVOTE & more!

Greetings Dear Community,

This week we launched an effort to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to exercise their right to vote. #BlackOutTheVote, created in partnership with Carmichael Lynch, is a campaign designed to raise awareness about how powerful the black and brown vote is and to ensure that our voices are heard.

Across this country people face significant hurdles to casting a ballot; some are circumstantial and some are the result of deliberate disenfranchisement—none should be for fear of losing a job. Every American should be afforded the opportunity to participate in shaping our democracy. That’s why we’re inviting businesses to join us in sharing their plans to create paid leave opportunities for employees to vote. A lot of Minnesotans may not realize that the state law protects your right to take time to vote. In Minnesota, we are lucky to have vetoed discriminatory voter ID laws. But in states across the nation, wide swaths of people are prevented from getting to the polls because a select few want to keep them silent, without representation, on the margins of history. We won’t stand for it.

Our role as a theatre dedicated to portraying black life and culture on our stages means that we have do everything that we can to increase safety and opportunity for black people in America. Sometimes that looks like hosting difficult conversations about race and racism. Sometimes it looks like bringing people together for a meal. Sometimes it happens in the darkened comfort of our theater. And sometimes it means throwing whatever weight we have behind driving the vote to ensure that the world we live actually reflects our highest aspirations as a people.

E pluribus unum; out of many, one. What an incredible aspiration. We don’t have to agree about everything, but the right to vote—this most elemental feature of our democracy—must be held sacred. It is an amazing thing to see Americans from Seattle to San Antonio, from Tampa to Toledo, participating in shaping our future. I am always so very proud to cast my ballot. Every time I do, I think of all of the people who worked to make it possible that I as a woman, I as a black American, could vote.

So, please vote. And more than that, do what you can to ensure that others have the opportunity to vote as well. When everyone is afforded unimpeded access to the polls, voting may be the only place where equality is realized in America because when we vote, each ballot weighs the same. It’s getting there that matters.

Be safe. Be brave. And don’t lose hope.

With abiding love,