We're here for the movement, not just this moment.
June 22, 2020
A message to the Hubbard Street community from David McDermott, Executive Director, and Glenn Edgerton, Artistic Director.
Over the last month, America has woken up to the reality that our society does not offer life, liberty, and justice to all Americans. We've woken up to the realization that the system has been designed to protect the interests of entrenched power. For those living in the other America, the senseless killings of hundreds of Black Americans including George Floyd, Ahmaud Aubery, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks are just the latest reminder that we live within a system of oppression.
While we welcome this long-overdue awakening, we must not be satiated by it. We must continue to push our society forward, we must continue to look inward to transform much of our culture, and we must continue to speak out as an active voice for change.
As leaders of a non-profit organization, our first reaction is to highlight the positive work we’ve been doing to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion. But it continues to be clear that the work we’re doing is nowhere near enough. We can no longer allow the diversity of our work on stage and the intent of our programs to speak for Hubbard Street. Today, we must be a voice that screams for change.
To be an authentic and effective partner in this work, we first must look internally. Over the past few weeks, we’ve had gut-wrenching conversations with our staff and dancers about exactly how we’ve failed both them and society. These failures range from the countless microaggressions and use of racialized language, to restricting access to our art through ticket sales pricing schemes, all the way to the very structures of the auditioning, casting, and choreographic process. We are committed to continuing these tough conversations to find ways to make our community inclusive and anti-racist.
Today, the survival of many dance companies, including Hubbard Street, is not guaranteed. We are being forced to reassess our financial models, our staffing structures, and our performance opportunities. We can either view this moment as a temporary blip on the road to restoring a flawed industry or we can see it as an opportunity for transformational change.
There is so much work to do. At a minimum, we must redouble our efforts to educate our staff, board, and community about structural racism. We must create clearer pathways for the reporting of individual and institutional actions that support racism. More importantly, we must create systems of accountability for those actions.
As we rebuild, we must commit to using an anti-racist lens in every decision we make. Instead of trying to create a more diverse staff, board, and audience within our current system, we must force ourselves to face the root causes of these challenges head on. We must continue to push America forward by presenting voices that not only represent communities of color, but actively challenge the status quo. Knowing good intentions are not enough, we promise rigorous and active change. We must speak out against injustice.
As white male leaders, we recognize our significant privilege and admit that we are flawed. Our white fragility has allowed us to undervalue the power of racism and discrimination in the world. We’ve focused on trying to solve discrete problems instead of challenging ourselves to face the hate and dehumanization that underpins the structure of our society. We thank our staff and our broader community for continuing to amplify and champion structural reform.
Today, we restate our personal commitment along with the full commitment of our organization to making Hubbard Street and the world more diverse, inclusive, and anti-racist. Today, we must remember that this is more than a moment. This is a movement.
Black Lives Matter.
—Dave and Glenn