We have entered, it seems, the darkest of times. Yesterday, what seems to be the majority of America (and probably the world) watched (or tried not to watch) the "peaceful transition of power" from one leader of the free world to another. Many of us, perhaps most of us, are scared, for ourselves and for our friends in this new world, where we feel we will be persecuted for our gender, or skin color, or sexual orientation, or immigrant status. We step into another form of darkness - the unknown - unsure if our rights will be protected. My hope is that since things have gotten this bad, hopefully they have gotten bad enough that we will really truly fight for change. Yesterday I kept spontaneously bursting into tears. Yesterday was a very dark day.
But yesterday was flanked by two of the most remarkable days I have ever experienced on a large scale. Today, the extremely visible women's march on Washington, took place literally across the globe in hundreds of cities in the US but also on every continent including Antarctica. My newsfeed today has been an incredible, overwhelming flood of pictures of crowds in pink pussy hats, carrying signs, singing songs, chanting, cheering, smiling. We are proud, we are fighting, we are here, and we will not go back into hiding. (Joan Baez's "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around is playing on my turntable right now and could not be more apropos.)
Thursday was special in a different way. Thursday I participated in the Ghostlight Project, an action by the theatre community across the country - our slogan "be a light" for the dark times ahead. At 5:30 in each time zone, communities gathered and turned on physical lights as a reminder that we will all shine bright for each other in the coming days. "All are welcome," we said, and we meant it. I stood on the red steps in Times Square with hundreds of others, many Broadway actors and crews and stage managers and designers, to remind everyone there and everyone who watched us online that we will not go quietly into the dark. We will continue to tell our stories and give voice to the voiceless.
The ghostlight tradition lends safety to all in the theatre, so that it is never truly dark, a perfect sentiment for all of us in the coming years, for anyone who is not a cis-het white man. So in the coming fight for a better world, be a light. And when you can't be a light, look around - somebody is shining for you. I know I am.