National Community Day, George Floyd, and Ma'Khia Bryant

Posted April 21, 2021 in Articles

Author: Near West Theatre Staff

Today is National Community Day. Even during the pandemic, every day, in some way, we are reminded of how grateful we are to be surrounded by community that is, essentially, family. Ours is one of deep, meaningful relationships, where people show up and share love and are brave and hold one another accountable.

Yesterday, a jury held Derek Chauvin accountable for his actions for the murder he perpetrated against George Floyd, abetted by fellow officers who stood by while the life slowly left George’s body. A Black man’s body. A person’s body. We want to believe that his conviction is progress, but we are simultaneously delivered the news of a 15-year-old Black child being shot dead by the hands of officers in Columbus on the very same day.

Nothing can make up for or can be measured equal to the loss of George Floyd’s or Ma’Khia Bryant’s lives. And so, because justice is not an option, we turn to accountability as the path from harm toward reparation and healing.

Often, white America is not held accountable to its racism. The way we can take action against this injustice is through necessary systemic and institutional change, yes, but also through relational change. As "grassroots" as you can get—through our relationships with one another. This means having hard conversations with your child, your parent, your best friend, knowing that the relational work you’ve done will sustain both the relationship and the necessary antiracism work ahead.

Community is not always comfortable, and in fact, it’s more often uncomfortable. Love is raw, vulnerable, and brave. None of those things taken in themself are comfortable, but look at what they can create. Loving is hard work, honesty is hard work, accountability is hard work. For all of these there are no satisfying alternatives. We must roll up our sleeves to see ourselves through to a better tomorrow. For our community and everyone else’s.

Near West Theatre will continue to create space for joy, healing, hope, bravery, and growth. And we will continue to cultivate space for disruption, honesty, and hard conversations, too. In the name of love and justice and accountability. Together, we will see it through.

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