“As members of the Black theatre community, we stand together to help protect Black people, Black talent and Black lives of all shapes and orientations in theatre and communities across the country. Our voices are united to empower our community through activism in the pursuit of justice and equality for the betterment of all humanity. We will not be silent. We will be seen. We will be heard. We are here. Join us.”
This call to action is just the beginning. It was the latest manifestations of police brutality that galvanized Black Theatre United into being. With roots reaching into all 50 of the United States this coalition can harness invaluable political scope and influence. To elevate a cause or to overturn policies that target black people in any one state or community, the group will draw on members with local connections to use their visibility and influence for good in theater and on the national stage.
Passionate and committed, this founding group of actors, directors, musicians, writers, technicians, producers and stage management includes: Lisa Dawn Cave, Darius de Haas, Brandon Victor Dixon, Carin Ford, Capathia Jenkins, LaChanze, Kenny Leon, Norm Lewis, Audra McDonald, Michael McElroy, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Wendell Pierce, Billy Porter, Phylicia Rashad, Anna Deavere Smith, Allyson Tucker, Tamara Tunie, Lillias White, NaTasha Yvette Williams, Schele Williams and Vanessa Williams.
BTU is thrilled to work with Fair Count, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded by former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams. Fair Count partners with hard-to-count (HTC) communities to achieve a fair and accurate count of all people in the nation in the 2020 Census and strengthen the pathways to greater civic participation. On Wednesday, June 17, BTU founding members Audra McDonald and Phylicia Rashad will join Fair Count for “Sisters Sip,” a virtual Zoom holistic happy hour where they’ll discuss what it means as Black women to show up for their community while still prioritizing their overall health.
BTU is also partnering with Harness, a nonprofit started by America Ferrera, Wilmer Valderrama and Ryan Piers Williams to engage artists in social change. Together they will launch the #BeCounted campaign, which features Stacey Abrams, Kerry Washington and other activists, community leaders and celebrities to boost the participation of hard-to-count communities in the 2020 Census and help ensure that the $1.5 trillion federal dollars allocated through the Census reach minority communities. BTU member Kenny Leon will take part in upcoming Harness awareness efforts relating to the Census.
Help us to influence widespread reform and combat systemic racism by donating. Black Theatre United harnesses the power of its collective voice to create substantive change within the theatre industry and throughout our country and we need your partnership.