LETTER FROM THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR NOVEMBER 5, 2020
A Letter from Sarah Bellamy, Election Week & more.
Greetings Dear Community,
What a week! I feel a bit like a rag that’s been completely wrung out. I hope you all are hanging in there.
As I write this, we still do not know the results of the presidential election. What we do know is that this is the most engaged citizens have been in decades. And, we also know that we did not see a clear referendum on the virulent and racist policies that typify the current administration. This is yet another signal that allegiance to racial privilege remains a powerful motivator. Time and again I am baffled at the ways in which Americans vote against their own interests to pledge fealty to whiteness. Poor folks, women, immigrants, even some people of color, who—by virtue of their experience navigating oppressive systems and structures—one would imagine would support change, instead entrench themselves amongst those who demonstrate little concern for their wellbeing. Race spins formidable fictions — racism can make poor white people feel rich, women feel equal, immigrants feel secure, and internalized racism can make people of color feel free of a perceived stigma they hope to outrun. None of it is real. Like a mirage in a desert, true inclusion keeps moving out of reach, disappearing into thin air as those struggling to survive their conditions approach an imaginary oasis. Racism is doing a disservice to many of us. Why can’t everyone see that?
The lie is seductive, but the truth is liberating.
It is incumbent upon us to make these truths clear; to reveal how sick racism is making us and how it erodes our ability to strengthen our society as a whole. Of course racism disproportionately affects and endangers people of color, but it hurts white people, too. When someone surrenders gender parity to side with whiteness, it hurts them. When someone becomes indebted to taxes they cannot pay to side with whiteness, it hurts them. When someone strains connection to community to side with whiteness, it hurts them. And it hurts the rest of us, too.
Regardless of the outcome of this election, it is clear that we have a lot of reparative work to do. Today I not only hold out hope for more compassionate leadership, I also hold out hope that once illuminated, the path toward restoration will draw all of those fatigued from forfeiting their own wellbeing to adhere to a false and empty promise of white supremacy.
Meanwhile, the rest of us need a lot of love because weathering this has been hard. So, do yourself a favor and take a look at some of the soul-fortifying truth-telling that we’ve embedded below. Remember the proud legacy of activism and righteous resistance that has nurtured our nation’s progress since its very inception. We cannot cede our participation or responsibility in realizing the true potential of this democracy—we’re in the middle of a very tough chapter, but the story continues.
If you look really hard, you’ll see a pen in your hand. Use it.
With abiding love,
“PENUMBRA’S CONNECTIONS ARE SO POWERFUL. WE’RE CONTINUING TO STRENGTHEN THESE TIES AS A FORCE FOR COLLECTIVE HEALING AND PROFOUND SOCIAL GOOD.”