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What We're Reading: July 2020

What We're Reading
Scattered newspapers and magazines rest on a wood surface.

As members of an organization that believes in the power of conversation to promote systemic change, the team here at The Lark often circulates, among ourselves, anecdotes and emails about materials we've read lately that have moved us. In accordance with our commitment to the amplification of necessary voices that reflect the world we live in, this monthly post compiles some of the media we have been tuned in to, to share with our wider community. We know these are only a sampling of all the insightful work out there, so if we missed anything that had an impact on you this month, we encourage you to share in the comments section!


BIPOC DEMANDS FOR WHITE AMERICAN THEATRE

"This is a living document... culled from years of discussion between members of the Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) theatre communities immersed in the dynamics of which they speak, and bears the contradictions of our many concerns, approaches, and needs. When demands are repeated, it should be taken as a reflection of their significance to the constituents."

A comprehensive list of must-have, anti-racist practices for theaters.


THIS JEREMY O'BRIAN FACEBOOK POST

shared by Keelay Gipson


THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE FUNDED 

by INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence

"Ruling class policies, including development of the non-profit sector and support for social services, have led to the co-optation of substantial numbers of well-intentioned people. In this group, I include all of us whose intention is to "help" people at the bottom of the pyramid, but whose work, in practice, helps perpetuate their inability to change the circumstances which force them to need this assistance in the first place."

A critique of the non-profit model and the ways it is tied to antithetical government and foundation practices.


DISABILITY: WHAT HAVE BLACK PEOPLE GOT TO DO WITH IT?

by Angel Love Miles

"My race, gender, and disability are labels that were assigned to me at birth. So, it’s strange and somewhat cruel when I’m asked as an adult, which one’s do I pick over the others. However, what’s really being asked of me is, “Whose side are you on?” The answer of course is, “Mine.” I’m on my side. Hence, to be more of one aspect of me and less of another would suggest that I should be at war with some part of myself, and I am not doing that."

Part of a series on the intersection of Blackness and Disability.


KATORI HALL AND ERIKA DICKERSON-DESPENZA: CRAFTING THEIR NARRATIVES 

by Brittani Samuel

“Reading Katori Hall was the first time I saw Black Englishes in plays that were accurate and native to the place...My first time seeing Black girlhood in urban spaces where my people are from. My show exists because hers did.”

A conversation that happened before the COVID-19 pandemic caused the theater industry to change drastically, but which may have even more resonance now, as calls for a more inclusive theater field grow louder.


WHAT WENT WRONG AT PHILLY'S PLAYPENN?

by Rob Weinert-Kendt

"You can say you want to engage with more people of color, but engagement is one thing—what is the agency they will have? I was able to sit at the table, speak to my full, clear opinion, but if that is not going to be taken into consideration, it doesn’t matter if we’re there; you can still make us invisible if we’re there." --Amrita Ramanan

The story behind the long-time racist and sexist practices that led to the ousting of both the founding and associate artistic directors at PlayPenn.


BLACK IMAGINATION

curated by Natasha Marin

"For me, the joyful escape into this Black Imagination was both profound and liberating. I suppose, for someone else, it might be like suddenly becoming vegan, but instead of cutting out meat, dairy, and animal products from my diet and feeling amazing, I was cutting out White Supremacist ideation as filtered through what I was reading specifically, but also with an eye to all forms of popular media and visual exchange."

A collection of work by Black artists, which uplifts "powerful individual visions of happiness and safety, rituals and healing."

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