Dear Friends and Family,
New York City is two weeks away from passing a budget that will be used as a roadmap for recovery for the next 12 months. As a cultural institution working toward equity and justice – most especially for BIPOC communities – we have a responsibility to advocate for a budget that revitalizes our city and supports its citizens and arts and culture organizations.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Executive Budget proposal for the 2021 fiscal year calls for only a 0.32% cut to the New York Police Department. He has since stated that he will make cuts to the NYPD but has not specified or defined to what extent.
At the same time, the budget – as our colleagues at Playwrights Horizons aptly pointed out – proposes drastic cuts to essential services, including:
100% of summer youth jobs
45% of the budget of the Department of Youth and Community Development
40% of the capital budget for affordable housing
$640 million+ from the Department of Education (with much of that coming from direct cuts to our schools)
The budget also includes a more than 60% cut to cultural programs funding. This is a devastating blow, particularly to organizations in the Coalition of Theaters of Color whose work is more essential than ever to the vibrancy of our city. Where is the mayor putting its refocused police funding after promising youth investment? Our community of artists and organizations are ready to begin providing summer engagement to our youth through a culturally competent and healing framework.
A city budget is demonstrative of a city’s values. The NYC Executive Budget as it currently stands does not adequately reflect values of safety, health, and recovery, especially in the wake of COVID-19 and rampant police brutality that has shaken our city.
The Clemente, along with its theaters Teatro SEA and LATEA, is part of a community of Theaters for Budget Justice (see the growing list below), and we are proud to be following their lead in asking NYC theatergoers like you to voice support for budget advocacy.
If you feel activated, we encourage you to contact your city council members as well as the Mayor’s office to demand that the NYPD budget is reduced and that our city reinvest in our cultural and service organizations before the NYC budget is put into effect on July 1.
TAKE ACTION NOW
Click here to access key contact information along with a script for calling and/or emailing your city council member as well as Mayor Bill de Blasio to demand immediate changes to the city’s 2021 budget.
THEATERS FOR BUDGET JUSTICE
Abrons Art Center, The Acting Company, AMAS Musical Theater, Ars Nova, Atlantic Theater Company, Beth Morrison Projects, Bushwick Starr, Classic Stage Company, The Clemente, Clubbed Thumb, Dixon Place, Downtown Art, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Foundry Theatre, Garden Players, HERE, Keen Company, La Mama, Labyrinth, Ma-Yi Theatre, Mabou Mines, MCC, The Movement Theatre Company, National Black Theater, Nature’s Darlings, New Georges, The New Group, New Ohio Theatre, New York Stage and Film, New York Theatre Workshop, Performance Space New York, Play Co, Playwrights Horizons, Primary Stages, The Public Theater, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Red Bull, Signature Theatre, Soho Rep, St. Ann’s Warehouse, Talking Band, Tandem Otter, Target Margin, Teatro La Tea, Teatro SEA,Theatre for a New Audience, Theatre of the Oppressed, This Is Not A Theatre Company, Vineyard Theatre, Waterwell, and WP Theater