As venues and theaters throughout New York City remain closed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, these concert spaces may serve a new purpose: welcoming spots for Black Lives Matter protesters.
Last week, George Floyd – an unarmed black man – was murdered after being held to the ground from his neck by a white police officer. People across the world have taken to the streets to protest and offer solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. New York City, however, has seen some of the most traction across the country.
#OpenYourLobby, a new Twitter campaign, has been created to ask theaters throughout Manhattan to open their lobbies and restrooms to protesters.
“In support of #BlackLivesMatter and the many protesters nationwide fighting racism and injustice, we call on theaters to #OpenYourLobby,” the campaign’s website reads. “Do not equate property violence of protesters to the massive, state-sanctioned violence of policing in America. There is no comparison. Things can be replaced, people cannot.”
— Open Your Lobby (@openyourlobby) June 3, 2020
The campaign is asking these spaces to open lobby spaces to provide rest, water, and first aid to those taking-to the streets. They’re also asking for Wi-Fi access, outlets to chare phones, hand sanitizer, and enough space for people to practice social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic. An exit plan also needs to be in place, in case of disruption, and police will not be permitted inside.
This idea took-off last week after New York Theatre Workshop opened its doors to protesters for restrooms. Other spaces in Brooklyn and Manhattan followed suit, opening the doors to protesters, including The Public Theater, Playwrights Horizons, A.R.T./New York, IRT Theater, and Irondale Center.
Aside from New York, other cities are jumping on board with the idea; The Flight Deck theater in Oakland, California and Washington, D.C.’s Arena Stage just signed up.