Dear HRG&SP patrons and community, 

Earlier this semester, we were forced to cancel our production of Kiss Me, Kate by the COVID-19 pandemic. This sent us reeling, but with more than 100,000 Americans dead from the virus, it makes the cancellation of our one little show seem paltry. 

I bring this up because, at present, even the tragedy of the global pandemic seems to have taken a back seat to the uprisings against racism and police brutality occurring across the nation. Even as I sit here in Higginsville, Missouri, insulated from the uprisings in cities around the country, it has become clear that the status quo is no longer tenable for anyone, anywhere, especially Black Americans. 

The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others in the recent past have shown us all the dark foundation of anti-Blackness that pervades policing as an institution and our country as a whole.

We, as the Harvard-Radcliffe Gilbert and Sullivan Players, stand in solidarity with the Black members of our community, protesters the nation over, and everyone fighting injustice, racism, and police brutality. 

We are blessed as a group to have many generous donors who habitually support us in our mission of performing extra-curricular theatre at Harvard and promoting appreciation and awareness of the works of Gilbert and Sullivan. We especially thank those donors who were able to give to us in our time of need, our semester without a show. 

Now, we call upon our donors to do what they can to support demonstrators and protesters fighting against racist structures and, increasingly, the slide toward authoritarianism in our government. Please, if you can, donate to any of the charities listed below, recommended to us and to you by BlackCAST, Harvard’s Black student theater group. 

Furthermore, we recognize that some works of Gilbert and Sullivan, while musically beautiful, textually witty, and historically important, existed in and contributed to a racist culture. We, as an organization, wanted to give some of the money that we have made from these shows to organizations fighting that racist culture. While we would love to financially support organizations like Reclaim the Block and Black Visions Collective directly, as a 501(c)(3) we are limited to donating to causes that further our mission of theatre education and awareness. We have therefore decided to donate $1,000 to the Penumbra Theatre in St. Paul, MN, a group which “creates professional productions that are artistically excellent, thought provoking, and relevant and illuminates the human condition through the prism of the African American experience.” (https://penumbratheatre.org/). 

We believe in the power of theatre to change hearts and minds. We believe that art can bring change and be a tool for education. I am glad that we are able to provide support to a fellow theater organization that has also lost performances and revenue from the pandemic and which, through its art, fights the very injustices we see protesters fighting every day.

Once again, please donate to these organizations as you are able! The HRG&SP is unable to donate directly to these worthy causes, so we strongly urge you, our patrons and community, to support them to the greatest extent possible. I personally have done so as have many other members of the community. The time has come for us as human beings to put our money where our mouths are and make the world a better place.

Black Visions Collective — https://www.blackvisionsmn.org/
Reclaim the Block — https://www.reclaimtheblock.org/home
National Bail Fund Network — bit.ly/localbailfunds
Anti-Police Terror Project — antipoliceterrorproject.org
Brooklyn Community Bail Fund — brooklynbailfund.org
Transgender Law Center in Memory of Tony McDade — transgenderlawcenter.org

With love and solidarity on behalf of the whole HRG&SP Board of Directors, 
Ross Simmons
HRG&SP President

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