An Alfaro Quote for Your Consideration

It’s Nanowrimo, and I’m doing my best to get a lot of writing done during November. Because of that, my posts this month are probably going to be shorter than usual. (I had a post about the “controversial,” if you can believe it, phrase “We see” in screenplays, but a very funny twitter fight over the use of “Beat” has me thinking I’ll hold off for a few days.)

So this week I’ve decided to share something the playwright Luis Alfaro said in an L.A. Times article this past August. Upon his expansion of the L.A. Writer’s Workshop, a Center Theatre Group program,

I said, ‘Something intentional is going on. I want us to see who’s in the room. And now I want us to consider who is not in this room.’

I love this thinking toward intersectionality. A program of ten people (I believe the L.A. Writer’s Workshop is a year-long group, and this particular group was all women, according to the L.A. Times) may not cut across every potential identity found in a major city, but regularly taking stock of who isn’t there can help institutions, events, people keep an open mind about who has been included recently, who hasn’t, and who never has. Alfaro continues,

For me a couple of things popped. The important Central American voice in Los Angeles is one that we have not begun to capture. And the other is the really strong Asian voice that we have to reflect and make a bigger deal about. There’s a movement going, and nobody is writing about the Asian American female writers in this country who are extraordinary.

The pages of the L.A. Times and the New York Times are full of marginalized voices clamoring to be heard. I think we can learn a lot from Alfaro’s simple consideration of who isn’t the room.

Remediation so often begins, simply, by drawing attention. Let’s keep considering whose voices aren’t yet present.

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