Acknowledgment of Black Lives
We recognize that America as we know it today was built at the often fatal expense of forcefully enslaved Black people. We acknowledge and remember those who did not survive the Middle Passage, those who were were beaten and lynched at the hands of White Americans, and those who died and are still dying while fighting for their freedom. We remember those who “toiled the grounds where many theatres have been built and resurrected.” We acknowledge that while fighting for their own lives and civil liberties, Black people have envisioned a world that will be better for all of humanity.
Thank you to the Black Theatre Caucus and the authors of the We See You, White American Theatre demands for providing the framework for this language.
About this statement
Steppenwolf Theatre Company acknowledges that we have benefitted from the system of White supremacy, which prioritizes the erasure, co-optation and appropriation of Blackness. We recognize that labor is not and cannot be the only value of Black bodies. We will uphold anti-racist values in all facets of our work—the art we make, our day-to-day operations, our work in the classroom and in the community.
This living acknowledgement of Black Labor is a statement that recognizes and honors the African people who were enslaved at the hands of white colonizers and subjugated to unpaid labor and the descendants of enslaved African people. The purpose of recognizing this deep and difficult history is to show respect, gratitude and appreciation for the insurmountable contributions of the enslaved who worked the land against their will for generations for the sake of American capitalism, as well as increase awareness about the horrific outcome of a distorted Black American history.
It is important to acknowledge and understand the persistence of structural and institutional racism, and how we can all contribute to dismantling these systems and creating new and equitable solutions. These living acknowledgements commit us to doing anti-racist work today and beyond, as these histories are still being perpetuated via present-day racial privileges. We invite you to join us as we educate ourselves and activate our ability to be agents of change. Learn more.
Steppenwolf is working to foster a culture of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) within our theater. Learn more about our living statements, commitments and actionable goals.