Statement Adopted by Board of Governors
in June of 2020
Trying to put into words what we have experienced in these past months is extremely difficult. Our little world of the Players Guild has had to cope with a never-before circumstance of months of quarantine, financial uncertainties, and worry about our members and patrons who have been affected by a virus that is still taking its toll.
The shocking view of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on George Floyd’s neck and Mr. Floyd’s subsequent death has aroused in us anxiety, fear, and anger. We have also come to acutely realize that there are Guild members and theatre friends who feel these emotions every day in what should be innocuous circumstances. This has led to many conversations, at times uncomfortable, and even more uncomfortable self-checks of our behaviors, attitudes, and potential biases.
The Guild prides itself on doing good theatre. We pride ourselves as being welcoming and leaving outside the building pretty much everything that could get in the way of doing a good show. These last few years have been a predominately successful test of that method of operation. But we have come to realize that the friends we love, who have shared their talents in this mutually creative endeavor, live in a constant fear. This is almost unbearable to comprehend.
It is the nature of what we do at the Guild to put words into actions. In this particular case, it is our words of support and love for our friends who are minorities, who are LBGTQIA+ and for everyone else in our community that is marginalized or lives in fear. Our actions will be that we will do whatever we can to make everyone feel welcomed, safe, and respected, from the minute they walk in our doors or whenever they interact with us outside of the Guild.
We are going to take this a step further. Our Board of Governors often has special committees who are generally charged with a task that falls outside the responsibilities of the Board. Our latest special committee is going to be a Diversity Committee. This committee will be chaired by Kenyada Davis, who is not only well known to our patronage as an actor and performer of great talent, but to our membership is equally known for his dignity, courage, and dedication to his craft and to the Players Guild. Among other things, this committee will explore ways to improve our diversity, equity and inclusion for both our audience and our membership. We probably are going to be having some tough conversations, but we are confident that our Guild will be the stronger for it.
One of our set builders has a saying: “The right thing isn’t always the easy thing, but it’s always the right thing.” Whether it’s making a special set piece properly or ensuring everyone is treated with the humanity they deserve, it is always the right thing.