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The brutal murder of George Floyd on 25th May in Minneapolis, Minnesota has ignited a global surge of anger and pain. We all know this is not a one-off atrocity. American society is built on centuries of systematic oppression; from slavery, to Jim Crow segregation laws, continuing through and after the Civil Rights movement to where we are right now.  

Let’s not mince our words; the system is killing Black people- either slowly or quickly at point blank range. And an entire ocean away, from the Windrush scandal to the Grenfell tragedy, racist oppression is very much alive in the UK. If you disagree, here are the names of those who have lost their lives in police custody: 
Sheku Bayoh, 
Joy Gardner, 
Kingsley Burrell, 
Mark Duggan, 
Smiley Culture, 
Sean Rigg, 
Sarah Reed, 
Cherry Groce, 
Christopher Alder, 
Leon Briggs, 
Jimmy Mubenga, 
Brian Douglas, 
Roger Sylvester, 
Leon Patterson, 
Adrian McDonald, 
Anthony Grainger, 
Seni Lewis, 
Alton Manning. 

We at Theatre Royal Stratford East stand shoulder to shoulder with our Black family, friends and colleagues, with those fighting racism and campaigning for justice and change. We also send love and healing to those who are paralysed by the restlessness of it all. We also need to be part of a call to action, beyond acknowledging this moment and ask how we can use this momentum to push for permanent change.   

Theatre Royal Stratford East is built on the legacy of giving a voice to marginalised communities, this has enriched us and shaped our identity. We are proud of our long history of Black work from the 1970s right up to the countless plays and projects we make today. We are committed to ensuring that diversity is upheld and celebrated every step of the way: in our art, in our workforce, in our participation work with young people, community and with our audiences. 

We know there is more to be done.  And so, we are ready to listen and to interrogate ourselves and ensure we are part of the solution. 

Black Lives Matter 

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