To the Berkeley Rep community,
We went to the theatre this weekend for the first time in months, to open the restrooms and courtyard on Addison Street to provide support for Black Lives Matter protesters. As we watched people enter the building, we thought back to Berkeley Rep’s first theatre, on College Avenue. At its founding in 1968, the facade was painted with the following exhortation to our earliest audiences:
They should see with their eyes
Hear with their ears
Understand with their heart
And perhaps most importantly:
Please don’t remain silent
Now we, as the staff of Berkeley Rep, recommit ourselves to those values—To look, with clear eyes, at the systemic racism present in our world, our community, and within our organization. To listen, without defensiveness, to the voices of our BIPOC staff members, artists, audience members, students, and supporters. To understand, and work to become our best selves in order to dismantle deeply entrenched systems of oppression.
Much like our country, we at this theatre struggle to reconcile our aspirations with our day-to-day behavior. And we know we cannot remain silent in the face of the pervasive violence being perpetrated against Black people. We must, in both word and deed, commit to being anti-racist, as individuals and as members of the Berkeley Rep community. We don’t say this lightly—we have much work to do.
We know actions are more important than words, and we commit ourselves to sharing specific steps that we are taking as an organization soon.
Johanna Pfaelzer, Artistic Director
Susie Medak, Managing Director
We at Berkeley Rep are grateful to the myriad Black educators, organizers, and activists who have been doing this work for decades. They have created and shared many excellent resources, from virtual mental health resources for Black people to anti-racist educational guides for white allies. These are some of the resources we’ve found helpful. We also encourage you to donate to organizations locally and nationally that support Black communities and causes.
Places to donate
- Color of Change
- Change.org (Black Lives Matter petitions)
- 5 Calls Civic Action
- Linktree National Resources List