I directed the choreopoem “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf” by Ntozake Shange at Auburn Public Theater this year. Kudos to the theater for having the courage to produce a play featuring a cast of nine African-American women, a first-time experience for this little theater located in downtown Auburn. The production was so well-received that diverse audiences came from across the state to see the original dates and three encore performances. The Auburn Public Theater is a shining example of an organization demonstrating — in word, action and deed — a commitment to diversity and inclusion as part of its business strategy. Angela Daddabbo and Carey Eidel are local leaders understanding the importance of diversity and inclusion as an ongoing growth strategy for their organization. Because of this, Auburn Public Theater is building a reputation as a place in Auburn large enough in spirit and customer service for “all of us,” regardless of who we are.

I describe Auburn Public Theater as having “courage” to produce this play for a specific business reason. It is my experience that Auburn is not in the habit of intentionally focusing on the lives of African-Americans and other minority populations as part of its economic development strategy. This statement may upset some. Before you get yourselves in a tizzy, hear me out.

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