Anti-racism Statement Preamble
Imagine for a moment that you’re going to a new place where you’ve never been because you didn’t think it was a place for you, for people like you. And you hate being alone in a place like that. But a new friend has invited you, and you’ve decided to check it out. You spend hours trying to decide what to wear – it’s a new place and you don’t know how people dress. You have few free nights, so going out on a limb like this is unusual for you, and it starts to feel really important. This place had better be great! You get there and walk in, not sure what will happen once you’re through those doors.
And what do you find? As you walk in, you’re greeted by someone who looks like you. They tell you to make yourself at home, and show you where to pick up your tickets. The person behind the ticket counter pronounces your name correctly, which surprises you because so many people get it wrong. They welcome you warmly, and somehow they know it’s your first time there. As you leave with your tickets, you decide to walk around a bit. You see a poster about some of the activities at this place over the last year, and you’re excited to see that they have supported some of the causes that you think are important – who knew that a place like this would think that things that concern you and your future are worth their time? You look around and notice that everyone in this space is dressed differently – some people are very fancy, some who look like they’ve just come from work, some in jeans and a t-shirt. But everyone feels comfortable here, no matter what they’re wearing, how they’ve done their hair or who they’re with. You don’t feel judged for what you wore, what you look like, how you move. Maybe you won’t worry so much about your clothes next time! And as you look at the other people in the space with you, you notice that you see even more people who look like you – you’re not the only one after all!
And as you stand there, thinking about how surprisingly welcoming this place is, you realize it’s because you feel like they see you, even though they didn’t know you until you walked in just now. They see you as part of their community, and maybe they were already a part of your community, too. And it feels like they see everyone – not just people who look like you, either. This place seems to see everyone, and that feels really good. It feels like a place you could return to, could maybe bring your friends to.
This is the experience we want everyone to have at Geva, but it’s an experience that a lot of people don’t have right now. If you fit the mold of the current Geva subscriber, then this might be your current experience. But to get to a place where everyone feels that same comfort and ownership when they walk through those doors – artists, staff, and audience alike – we need to take some steps, including making the following statement of commitment.