It was a picture perfect Berkshire evening on Wednesday, July 24, as WAM Theatre supporters packed The Stationery Factory in Dalton. They celebrated and supported the company's first decade of acclaimed theatrical productions and support of organizations that work to empower women and girls, at WAM's sold-out 10th Anniversary Gala, hosted by Berkshire favorite Ty Allan Jackson.
The full house was in a great mood enjoying the tasty hors d'oeuvres catered by The Marketplace and the delicious apple cider donuts from Hilltop Orchards in Richmond. Live and silent auctions added to the fun, in an event coordinated by Only In My Dreams Events.
The event raised funds for WAM's Education programs and the company's upcoming fall production of PIPELINE by Tony Award-nominated and Obie Award-winning playwright Dominique Morisseau, and directed by Dawn M. Simmons.
John Bissell, Peter Taylor, Gwendolyn VanSant: Addressing organizational bias in Berkshires
John Bissell, Peter Taylor, and Gwendolyn VanSant } Berkshire Eagle
PITTSFIELD — As three leaders in Berkshire County, we recognize the unjust and uneven balance of power and privilege right here in our communities. Racial inequality has been built into our country's most influential and interconnected institutions—educational and economic, legal, philanthropic and, yes, cultural. We are writing to publicly commit to addressing systemic inequalities in our county head-on as we aim for equity of access and opportunity.
This is why Greylock and Berkshire Taconic helped sponsor, and BRIDGE helped curate, the recent Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Conference in the Berkshires at MCLA. It energized over 50 community members through a process that surfaced some of the most persistent systemic indicators and root causes of bias and discrimination. It's also why we are collectively inspired to stand with one of our partners, Jacob's Pillow. We strive to follow CEO Pamela Tatge's example of speaking out about racist and biased incidents when they occur, as she did in her July 10 op-ed for The Berkshire Eagle.
Tatge was well prepared to respond to racism when it occurred in the Jacob's Pillow community because her team had invested in a three-year partnership with BRIDGE to build awareness, responsiveness, and inclusivity into their organizational culture. What's more, Jacob's Pillow has also developed several authentic community collaborations like its dance program Pittsfield Moves.
Dick Lindsay } The Berkshire Eagle
LENOX — On a sultry summer afternoon on the grounds of Shakespeare & Company, North Adams Mayor Thomas Bernard recited:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights ..."
"... that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," concluded Ken Werner, chairman of the theater group's board of trustees.
The two men were sharing the spotlight Thursday afternoon reading, arguably, the most famous line from the Declaration of Independence.
"It's the line everyone knows," Bernard told The Eagle. "It's powerful to hear the written word spoken, and by all walks of life."
"The words are as poignant today — maybe more so — as they were almost 250 years ago," added state Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, D-Lenox.
Pignatelli, Bernard and Werner were among the 50 people from across the Berkshires speaking a line or two from the 243-year-old document that would be the rallying cry for colonial America to break away from England.
The recitation highlighted Shakespeare & Company's annual Independence Day celebration, appropriately titled, "We Hold These Truths," held in partnership with Multicultural BRIDGE.