Dear CircusTalk Community,
These are challenging times for all of us. On many levels. The sudden trauma of the pandemic not only changed our priorities but also shifted our values and shed a beaming light on issues that we had been trying to avoid or ignore for a very long time.
Those in the black community, we stand in solidarity with you. We feel compassion for the burden you carry right now. Your burden has become the symbol of our generation’s deep desire for an equitable society, where there is only one law, one love and that is the same for all human beings.
I would like to believe that George Floyd did not die in vain. We protested and hashtagged before for #TrayvonMartin, #FreddieGrey, #AmadouDiallo and many more. With George Floyd’s death, we reached a plateau from where we cannot continue “business as usual” anymore. We need change. Real change. Change for the better.
During my career, I have seen too many talented artists struggle and never be able to make it, just because they didn’t have the same opportunities as those who had the talent combined with the privilege, the connections, the resources, and the networks. This was my exact incentive about five years ago to bring to life the CircusTalk project. As I have always believed that all change starts with transparency and information, I wanted to create a level-playing field where information was accessible for everyone in the circus industry.
Today I am asking myself: Was that enough? What can we do better as a part of this resilient, accepting, and innately inclusive art form called circus?
The performing arts and circus world is filled with people who genuinely want to create an equitable space and environment, but are either unsure about the steps to make that happen or cannot find the means to break the structures that have been historically built around white dominance.
When at CircusTalk we report about creators, projects or lately curate our “Circus and Changing Realities” panel series, we find that it is hard to portray diversity … because our industry is not very diverse. I admit that only a small percent of our staff and team of international contributors are people of color. This is also part of the problem.
There are so many reasons, arguments, and excuses why not. I can’t change the past, but I feel my personal responsibility for the future and I am committed to lead the CircusTalk community into times where race, gender, and sexual orientation will become just an integral part of who we are.
I am reaching out to the CircusTalk community now, especially to our community members of color to find out how we as an online platform can support you. As you go through pain and experience trauma now, we want to provide a safe and supportive space and we want to give you a voice now more than ever.
We’re planning a panel series hosted by Johnathan Lee Iverson to hear and understand the experiences of people of color in our industry and in the wider sector of the performing arts while intending to explore solutions. We are committed to continuing our balanced reporting about diversity and inequality in our sector while preserving our strong three I’s: an inclusive, independent, international online platform for the circus art.
If you’re able to support this cause financially, here is a list of organizations whose mission and activity can bring real change in the long run.
Take care of each other.
In hope for change,
Co-Founder and CEO of CircusTalk
P.S. (and Photo Credit):
I chose to add the image of independent circus artist, Marco Motta to this blog post. Marco was the first recipient of the CircusTalk Critics’ Choice Award that we introduced at the 2nd FIRCO Festival in Madrid in October 2019. Our award is special, because beyond the usual award principals, such as artistic expression, technique and innovation, we added the criteria of social relevance. Marco’s act is a heartwarmingly beautiful and intimate testimony about his experience of being a black artist in a dominantly white industry.
Photographer: Sergio Martez
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