Anti-Asian American Violence Statement

Like most of you, I have spent a great deal of time over the past few days trying to comprehend the unspeakable acts of anti-Asian violence that took place just this week in Atlanta. Eight people were killed at Asian-American owned businesses, most of whom were Asian-American women.

In the past year, more than 3,800 hate incidents against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been reported.

It is beyond comprehension.

But I can visualize a path forward that we artists have a vital role in.

Violence against communities of color, against women, against the LGBTQIA+ community isn’t new. They are deeply rooted in dehumanizing and hate-filled language and misrepresentation, centuries old.

As artists, we have an opportunity to use language that celebrates, uplifts, and establishes common ground. We have the tools to showcase diversity, refocus the lens away from tropes and onto the beauty of multi-hued perspectives.

As artists, we have a responsibility to embrace diversity and inclusion, because words and representation matter, when used for the betterment, not dismantling, of our common humanity.

We have begun that work here at PlayMakers Repertory Company, as have many, many theatres around the country. We have a long road ahead.

Vivienne Benesch
Producing Artistic Director
March 24, 2021