It’s the night before Thanksgiving. We are still knee-deep in an amalgam of remote and hybrid education. Opening night is a week away. 5 months have flown by.
So much has happened since that phone call on June 2. The call that challenged me to act. The one that in an instant, gave me a focus and a purpose that drove me through the pandemic, through political chaos, and through the burning desire to create something socially and culturally meaningful.
Thespian Troupe 721’s opening night will present my new play entitled, “How Do We Feel Right Now?”, a collection of raw thoughts in the aftermath of senseless tragedy. It is my contribution to and acknowledgement of the need for more robust social change. My attempt at fostering more connected conversations about social injustice. It is my hope that this document, which is a testament to the friends I have who were hurting terribly, can help people understand how people really feel in their hearts in the face of the kinds of relentless trauma that people of color face, whether directly or indirectly, over the course of a lifetime.
I am not a person of color. But I listen. I challenge my own internal monologue that I have developed over the course of my lifetime. I look in the eyes of my students, former and present, who are primarily people of color. Seeing the added challenges they must work through, managing in a system that values them less, breaks my heart. These are good, talented, caring people who deserve the same opportunities I had. They deserve to have peace of mind when they navigate this world. Whether they admit it or not, they most often do not have that peace of mind. They carry the burden of worry, of fear, of distrust, of emotional exhaustion because there are too many who still don’t get it. Yet, they press on, despite the anxiety and stress that they carry.
I see the disparity between the school district where I teach and the district right next door where my children are educated. I see it in the facilities, the resources, and the experiences to which the students have access. What one student takes for granted, another can’t even fathom exists. This is the inequity that the Black Lives Matter movement has been trying to make clear so it can be addressed and rectified. Systemically. But systemic change comes hard, and when you have so many people who turn a blind eye, not even considering that there is still a problem with racism in this country, we continue to climb our social Everest.
My hope is that this play will be a source of inspiration, continued conversation, and hopefully, future productions. Time will tell.