Since Nora’s Playhouse’s founding in 2009, we have been committed to lifting up women theatre artists in a collaborative storytelling process that focuses on human rights. We must do better in living up to that mission in a way that combats racism and amplifies the voices of BIPOC theatre artists.
We stand in solidarity with the Black community and recommit ourselves to providing a space for women of color to tell their stories. We also pledge to make sure our board looks more like the communities we serve. If we are to listen and learn and do better, we must make sure all voices are represented in our leadership. We are working on other concrete steps to take going forward in our efforts to end racial injustice.
BY JACQUELINE ALLEN TRIMBLE
It used to be in Mayberry
folks were never colored
–not even black and white–
but beige, khaki,
a little gray. In Mayberry
Deputy Barney had one bullet
and no need for rope.
The only burning he did was for his Thelma Lou.
The sheriff had no gun,
just an Aunt Bea baking pies
and an Opie full of freckles heading off to fish
or sing or court. Whatever Opies do.
In Mayberry, no doors were barred or locked.
The jail was mostly empty.
The only water hose we ever saw
on Sheriff Andy’s lawn.
Mayberry was a Southern town.
Technicolor must have killed it.
Made Andy a cranky lawyer.
Sent Opie running all the way to Hollywood.
But we remember.
Black and white,
from Chicago to Watts to Selma,
we tuned in to connect the dots of Opie’s face
while we dined on mashed potatoes and buttered corn
right before our TV sets,
that in this Southern town,
the sheriff used his hose to water Aunt Bea’s roses.
We were so happy and relieved
we laughed until we could not think
until we fell off our sofas and wing-backs and can-bottoms;
we laughed until we could not see or hear
until we could forget
that outside our windows
other sheriffs with loaded guns, snarling dogs, and ready hoses
made quick work of a world on fire.
(reprinted from American Happiness: New Poems, New South Books)
Jacqueline Allen Trimble lives and writes in Montgomery, Alabama, where she is an associate professor of English and chairperson of Languages and Literatures at Alabama State University. Her work has appeared in various online and print publications including The Griot, The Offing, and The Blue Lake Review. She is currently a Cave Canem fellow and the recipient of a 2017 literary arts fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. She is also an Artistic Associate of Nora’s Playhouse.