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Black Lives Matter

With outrage and great sorrow, Playwrights Horizons mourns the Black lives unjustly lost to state-sanctioned violence. The killing of George Floyd by members of the Minneapolis police department is yet another glaring example of the systemic racism at work in our country, and of the traumas inflicted against Black Americans throughout our history. So, too, are the murders of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, Tony McDade in Florida, and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, among countless others.

As the nation rises up in defiance of these crimes — and the vast structures of oppression which enable them — Playwrights Horizons stands with our Black colleagues, artists, and audiences, in the fight against racial injustice in all its forms. Our theater is not just a building, not just an institution, but a collective of humans, and until every member of our community is able to live safely and equitably valued in the eyes of our country and society, we are deficient. Committed to the American playwright’s voice, and to ensuring that this voice reaches audiences, Playwrights Horizons can fulfill our mission only when all voices are protected equally. Black lives matter.

We recognize that systems of racism and white supremacy are at work not only in the appalling acts of violence that manage to make the headlines; these systems are played out daily in ways that are both egregious and invisible. And they are perpetuated by our cultural institutions and the narratives we uphold. Playwrights Horizons acknowledges our role in creating culture, our responsibility to New York City and the nation, and the privilege we stand to mobilize in service of social justice. In our continued and necessarily imperfect work toward best practices and collective liberation, we are committed to the following:

  • Through our continued programming, and through the creation of new programs, the community of artists and audiences who make up our theater will better reflect the cultural breadth of New York City and our country.
  • Through the stories we tell, we will challenge inherited and accepted notions of identity and history, in the interest of disrupting and dismantling patterns of oppression.
  • By building new relationships with local communities and organizations, we will deepen the impact of new writing in New York City and beyond.
  • We commit to upholding principles of equity, diversity and inclusion in all our practices.
  • We commit to continuing anti-racism training for staff and board, as well as to engaging in constant self-reflection.
  • We will serve as community advocates, amplifying and supporting the work of historically underrepresented and marginalized communities. 

We will continue to evolve. And as we do, we will engage in an ongoing re-examination of our practices, and our impact, in this urgent and necessary work toward equity.

We offer this growing compilation of resources to support the fight against racial injustice in the United States. Many of these have already been shared by our peer theaters, colleagues, and artists. We’re grateful for the chance to amplify and add to their work. 

With love,
Playwrights Horizons