HOBOKEN, NJ - Citing a need to “do better,” Hoboken's Mile Square Theatre has outlined its commitment to further “the pressing imperative for racial justice” within its own organization.
“In the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, a mass movement has coalesced—a movement which demands that we acknowledge the persistent and deadly impact of anti-Blackness and systemic racism in American life in general and in our industry in particular. Professional theatre in the United States exists within a system built on a legacy of white supremacy culture. This culture centers whiteness as “normal,” and provides political and socio-economic advantages to white groups that are not enjoyed by other racial groups. Mile Square Theatre acknowledges that our efforts to change the system have been inadequate thus far. We know we have to do more.”
Mile Square Theatre formed in 2003 as a non-profit professional theatre. Moving into their current location at 1400 Clinton Street in 2016, its mission is to enrich and engage the region through the production of professional theatre and innovative arts education.
According to a letter signed by Founder and Artistic Director Chris O'Connor, as well as the theatre's staff and trustees, “Mile Square Theatre is committed to fighting racism, white supremacy, and injustice within our organization, the community we serve, and our nation at large. We have an imperative to improve our industry as we rebuild. We see this as an opportunity to center anti-racism in our practice and dismantle the insidious forces of systemic racism that plague our industry and our country. It is critical to us that our actions match our values, and that our intent is fully reflected in our impact.”
The letter continues, “While we have made efforts to increase diversity and inclusion on- and off-stage, we can do better. Our professional theatrical community, through the We See You White American Theatre open letter, demands we do better. We hear these demands, and we commit to creating a safe and equitable space for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).”
Specifically, the theatre vows to form a Board of Trustees that is at least 50% BIPOC to better reflect the racial make-up of Hudson County; to implement procedural preventions and responses to harassment, bullying and discrimination; to conduct Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion training for all leadership staff board members, and develop a strategic hiring and succession plan that deliberately seeks to include BIPOC.
"It is important that this work be done publicly and transparently," says Mile Square Theatre. “We invite you to put our feet to the fire with your feedback and criticism as we strive to be better.”
To learn more about Mile Square Theatre and to keep on top of upcoming offerings, visit milesquaretheatre.org.
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