On January 19th, 2017, theatres across the country gathered together in a national movement called The Ghostlight Project. In the theatre, the ghostlight is used as a marker of safety when the theatre is “dark”. While it is a symbolic tradition, the ghostlight also serves a real function of security. The essence of the movement is to mark theatres as safe havens from any kind of discrimination.
At 5:30pm, the Hope College Theatre Department gathered in solidarity with many theatres across our timezone. As a community, the department pledged to create a space of inclusion, participation, and compassion.
Hope students delivered prepared speeches provided by the ghostlight project at the Hope ceremony. “Like a ghostlight, the light we create tonight will represent our commitment to safeguard-it will symbolize a safe harbor for our values and for any among us who find ourselves targeted because of race, class, religion, country of origin, immigration status, ability, age, gender identity, sexual identity or dissident action in the coming years,” said junior, Akia Smith.
“And our lights will symbolize hope-a belief that through our actions change is possible,” added sophomore Jose Angulo. Jose then led a countdown as students in the department all turned on their own lights to create “a huge ghostlight” as a community.
The project gathered a total of 728 participating institutions and theatres nationwide. Each theatre was given the opportunity to make their own pledge. Hope Theatre made the following statement:
Hope Theatre pledges to be a place of safety, a place of inclusion, and a place where dialogue can flourish. A place where ALL are welcome.
To honor this commitment and to share our light for others to see, we’ve chosen this single light which will remain lit in our lobby for the remainder of the academic year.