Alex Ates speaks with Whit MacLaughlin—the experimental theatermaker who ventured into the online realm before it became our norm—about the intersection between digital technology and live performance and pedagogy.
On this Juneteenth, The Civilians stands in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter Movement and our fellow theater organizations working for Budget Justice in New York City. Today, we wanted to highlight organizations to support and actions to take to fight for change in New York City, as well as amplify the organizations working for racial justice that members of our R&D Group have selected to support alongside their sharings in the FINDINGS Series this month.
Get involved with the push for budget justice:
SEND EMAILS + TWEETS
TWEETS (You can copy/paste any of the below and post from your Twitter account!)
**You may also tag your Council Member, Corey Johnson (@NYCSpeakerCoJo), and Mayor DeBlasio (@NYCMayor).**
.@NYCCouncil move away from the narrow conception of Public Safety that relies on policing. Invest in a community’s actual safety net by reallocating at least $1 billion of NYPD’s budget this year into youth, stable housing, & other social services. #DefundNYPD #NYCBudgetJustice
I stand with youth, families, seniors & our most vulnerable NYers. @NYCCouncil must ONLY pass a budget that will #CutNYPDBudget by *AT LEAST* $1 billion in FY21 & redirects resources for counseling, jobs, housing & other vital services. #NYCBudgetJustice #DefundNYPD
.@NYCCouncil, our city cannot continue pouring taxpayer $$ into bloated NYPD policing budget while under-investing in public housing, youth services, health & other social services. #CutNYPDBudget by at least $1B this year. #NYCBudgetJustice #DefundNYPD
If a city budget is a moral document, @NYCCouncil must make the moral choice & #CutNYPDBudget by *AT LEAST* $1B in FY21 & ensure NYC invests in a truly healthier, safer, fairer city by prioritizing social services, education, workforce & environmental programs. #NYCBudgetJustice
It will definitely help to personalize the language below, as you see fit!
Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Johnson:
You have two weeks left to finalize the City’s budget and cut at least $1 billion from the NYPD to reinvest that money into ending our city’s historic homelessness and overdose crises, and growing income inequality. We need more affordable and supportive housing, quality rental assistance programs, and housing specialists to get homeless New Yorkers back into permanent housing. We need a workforce to respond to the needs of people who use drugs, more wrap-around harm reduction services, and increased access to lifesaving evidence-based treatment to end overdose in New York.
We urge you to identify every opportunity where the NYPD budget can be reallocated to appropriate city agencies better suited to address these needs. For example, every single dollar directed to the NYPD to tackle homelessness, drug use, overdose, public and mental health issues should be reallocated to the Department of Social Services, Department of Housing Preservation and Development, or Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Our demands do not end here. Our city must begin to reimagine what public safety means. This begins by identifying all the social problems that have been policed rather than solved through community investments like homelessness, public health, and poverty. It means total repeal of the long list of laws that only serve to criminalize poverty, the full decriminalization of drugs, and investing in care over incarceration and policing. And it means the immediate demilitarization of police, and consequences for individual officers who do harm to people and communities.
New York groups fighting for police reform and racial justice:
Communities United for Police Reform: Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) is an unprecedented campaign to end discriminatory policing practices in New York, bringing together a movement of community members, lawyers, researchers and activists to work for change. The partners in this campaign come from all 5 boroughs, from all walks of life and represent many of those most unfairly targeted by the NYPD. This groundbreaking campaign is fighting for reforms that will promote community safety while ensuring that the NYPD protects and serves all New Yorkers. We are a movement that is here to stay – a campaign that will be a visible, lasting presence on the streets of neighborhoods citywide. We will be in communities and on the streets, educating people about their rights; and in the courts and on the steps of City Hall and the state capitol, demanding change to the NYPD — until these policies end. Donate here.
Brooklyn Movement Center: Brooklyn Movement Center (BMC) is a Black-led, membership-based organization of primarily low-to-moderate income Central Brooklyn residents. We build power and pursue self-determination in Bedford-Stuyvesant & Crown Heights by nurturing local leadership, waging campaigns and winning concrete improvements in people’s lives. Through our intersectional organizing, BMC centers a full range of issues and Black identity that define a whole community. Donate here.
Equality for Flatbush: The Equality for Flatbush Project (E4F) is a people of color-led, multi-national grassroots organization which does anti-police repression, affordable housing, and anti-gentrification organizing in the Flatbush and East Flatbush communities or Brooklyn, NY. Donate here.
Support organizations recommended by members of our R&D Group:
The members of the 2019-20 R&D Group would like to encourage you to learn more about the following organizations. If you’re not in the position to donate at this time, please consider connecting with these organizations online to participate in other actions with them, and sharing their information with others.
Jason Tseng and Michael Alvarez, Sanctuary: Make the Road New York
Make the Road New York builds the power of immigrant and working class communities to achieve dignity and justice. Our model integrates four core strategies for concrete change that millions of families feel every day: 1. Legal and Survival Services to tackle discrimination, abuse and poverty; 2. Transformative Education to develop community members’ abilities to lead our organization, our movement, and society; 3. Community Organizing to transform the systems and power structures impacting our communities; and 4. Policy Innovation to rewrite unjust rules and make our democracy truly accountable to all of us. Donate here.
Darrel Alejandro Holnes, Black Feminist Video Game, AFRIKAN•ISCH play cycle: REDEEMED Project
REDEEMED is a criminal reentry project that pairs professional writers and lawyers with applicants in order to clear criminal records and that’s not all. We provide a pathway for applicants to work, free of charge, with lawyers and professional writers to formally petition the courts to recognize a person’s new life since prior crimes in order to be deemed rehabilitated by the state, or to have their crimes expunged, or sealed. Donate here.
Matt Barbot and Kathleen Capdesuñer, Drown My Book: Tucson Second Chance Community Bail Fund
The Tucson Second Chance Community Bail Fund (TSCCBF) aims to create a sustainable and long-term program to benefit the people of Tucson. By donating to this cause, you will help defendants post bond who would otherwise languish in jail. TSCCBF wants to help restore economic justice and dignity to people by helping them return home, keep their jobs, retain custody of their children and fight their cases in court. Donate here.
Higher Heights is the only national organization providing Black women with a political home exclusively dedicated to harnessing their power to expand Black women’s elected representation and voting participation, and advance progressive policies. Higher Heights for America and its sister organization, Higher Heights Leadership Fund, are building the political power and leadership of Black women from the voting booth to elected office and creating the environment for Black women to run, win and lead. Higher Heights was founded by Black women for Black women’s political growth and equity, and they have a winning plan for building collective political power and expanding Black women elected leadership in 2020 and beyond. Donate here. Join their email list here.
Crystal Skillman and Gaby Alter, This Show is Money: Justice for Breonna
Breonna Taylor was an award-winning EMT and first responder in Louisville, KY. On March 13th, three officers forced their way into her home and shot her. These officers have not been charged. Friday, June 5th, would have been Breonna’s 27th birthday. Please join us in celebrating her life and fighting for proper legal action to be taken in her case. You can donate here. Find more actions in honor of Breonna Taylor’s recent birthday here.
Further ways to get involved:
We share this post in solidarity with the activists and organizations doing daily work to create a more just, better integrated America. The list is by no means comprehensive. Below, you can find a few larger documents, compiled by activists, scholars, and fellow theaters, with further ways to participate in the push for a more just society.