A Call to Action

Dear Friends of White Snake Projects:

It’s difficult to find words to describe how precious breath is. For the last two months, we’ve heard heart-wrenching testimony from health care professionals as they watched their patients struggle to breathe. “I’ll never take each breath for granted again,” Ashley Crumpler, Critical Care Nurse from Atlanta, said. Last week, we saw George Floyd struggle to breathe as a police officer charged with protecting us knelt on his neck and crushed the breath out of him. “I can’t breathe,” are words we cannot, and should not, forget.

What can a small opera company do about this? What can we say when words are inadequate? I think we can do what we were created to do: To bear witness through making opera; to transmute pain into catharsis.

White Snake Projects is convening an activist think tank to brainstorm a music theater work confronting racism head-on. It has been a difficult time for all of us, but most especially for people of color. The pandemic has ripped away the band-aid of civility and exposed the raw wound of racism, starting with the “Chinese” virus and culminating in the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. We all know that this racism, highlighted in the extreme conditions of pandemic life, is institutionalized in our legal, political, and financial systems. It began with colonization and eradication of Native Americans and continued through government-sanctioned slavery, discrimination, and xenophobia. This think tank will brainstorm concepts, storylines, anecdotes, and other material for a new opera to premiere on a digital platform. If you, or anyone you know, would like to contribute ideas or stories to this project, please reach out to us at [email protected].

Please take a moment to breathe deeply. We are lucky to be alive and to be able to try to change the world.

Be safe, be well,

Cerise and all of us at White Snake Projects
An Activist Opera Company