Happy holiday season: it’s not always easy to find joy right now, but we’re working towards it daily, at Theatre of the Oppressed NYC. If you’re feeling anything like we are, you’ve had enough of 2016.
We have seen - and experienced - injustice in the criminal justice system; frightening policy proposals affecting immigrants, LGBTQ folks, women and people of color; and law enforcement that is not held accountable for systemic racism and violence. We’re aiming for a better 2017.
But we’ve also seen wins: this week, the direct actions of the #NoDAPL movement at Standing Rock won a huge victory, through community organizing and creative interventions. And, closer to home, Mayor Bill de Blasio has committed to moving all youth off Rikers Island, a great win for the campaign to #CLOSErikers, supported by TONYC and led by JustLeadershipUSA and the Katal Center. Finally, the NYC Council held a hearing on the Housing Not Warehousing Act, which will address empty properties in NYC that could be used for vital housing resources, and which we’ve been advocating for through the Concrete Justice Troupe’s tour of Homestead Instead.
Earlier this year, we committed to Tune In and Turn Out - that is, to amplify the ongoing movements towards housing, economic, and racial justice in NYC through community voice, fun and creative problem-solving. We’ve been doing just that, in partnership with organizations like the Vera Institute, Housing Works and the Ali Forney Center, and the results of the election last month simply turned up the heat on our work. TONYC’s team has been turning out in response to calls from new and existing partners, to bring our creative processes for change-making to community organizing spaces.
Here are the numbers: we’ve put on 50 free, public, interactive performances across 5 boroughs, for 2500 New Yorkers, created and performed by 12 troupes made up of actors who experience homelessness and housing insecurity, are living with or affected by HIV/AIDS, are recent immigrants or have criminal justice system involvement. This means you have jumped onto the stage to present over 150 creative solutions, in front of neighborhood residents, directly-affected communities, policy-makers, elected officials and advocates!
We have 50+ actors in our theatre troupes at any given moment - and you know when we say actor, we mean people directly impacted by the issues in our plays. They are not remaining quiet, they are taking action. Please join the TONYC actors today and help us reach our goal of 50 monthly donors before December 31st. Every month TONYC actors hold performances and participate in workshops, and every month you can be a “spect-actor” by supporting participatory, creative action in NYC.
Thank you for helping TONYC amplify movements, lift up stories and spark change.
Katy and the TONYC Team