My Dearest MiND Community,
I am shocked and outraged by the recent decision made by the Miami-Dade County Public School System to deny students the opportunity to experience Nilo Cruz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Anna in the Tropics, at Miami New Drama. This work is an artistic crown jewel of this community, making Nilo the first ever Hispanic playwright to win a Pulitzer Prize in drama. He is a graduate of the Miami Dade Public School System, was inducted into its hall of fame by the previous superintendent, is a world-class playwright, and an invaluable member of our community.
In 2004, when Anna in the Tropics was last produced at the Coconut Grove Playhouse, students came from all over the county to see this work, and it was a life-changing experience for them. Now, in 2022, over twenty years later, in a time when Anna in the Tropics is now a part of our educational curriculum across America and has been produced all over the world, it is simply inconceivable to think that our students of Miami Dade County will not have this opportunity. This kind of censorship is an incredibly concerning trend that we have noticed over the past few years with playwrights like Carmen Pelaez (The Cuban Vote) and Michael León (The Cubans). For the last two years, we have managed to work around these kinds of issues to ensure that our students were not denied access to these experiences, but now that Anna in the Tropics has been banned, this struggle has gone far enough, which is why we have decided to go public with this story.
Since I founded Miami New Drama, students have been at the core of our mission. We believe students should be able to access world-class theatre as part of their education, free of cost, as arts funding has been slashed in the public school system. Up until now, over 25,000 students have been able to attend a play by Miami New Drama’s education program. And before every student matinee, I ask: how many of you have never seen a professional theatre production before? Surprisingly, more than half of them still raise their hands.
Nilo Cruz became a playwright because he was exposed to Shakespeare during his time in our Miami-Dade County Public School System. Aurin Squire (A Wonderful World, Defacing Michael Jackson) saw plays on field trips and was inspired to become a playwright while a student in our school system. I could share countless stories of brilliant artists where access to the arts in our education system was a gateway to their inspiration, excellence, and leadership. We want to continue to inspire the next generation of Miami Dade County leaders because we believe that theatre and art are the best tools for it; tools for change, empathy, reflection, and exploration.
Please join us in this struggle for our students’ future and ensure access to the arts in the Miami-Dade County Public School System.
Thank you for your continued support from the bottom of our hearts.
Miami New Drama
To Take Action:
Contact the District Supervisor, Miami Dade County School Board & Superintendent. Let them know how invaluable equal access to the arts and culture is for our students.
- Patricio Suarez, District Supervisor of the Performing Arts Division of Academics, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Miami-Dade County School Board- Look up who to contact in your district here
- Dr. Jose L. Dotres, Superintendent of Schools, Superintendent’sOffice@dadeschools.net
Parents and legal guardians- reach out to your school principals and let them know that that this opportunity is critical for your student’s education. You may ask them reach out to our education department at: email@example.com
To Learn More:
- Miami-Dade schools censor Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, won’t let students see his play | Opinion | Miami Herald
- Director de Miami New Drama denuncia a Junta Escolar por censura | Diario Las Americas
- Defense rests in Parkland sentencing trial, and students blocked from attending a play in Miami-Dade Public Schools | WLRN
- Miami-Dade students blocked from Pulitzer-winning play| Axios Miami
- #BecauseMiami | The Hurricane | The Dan LeBatard Show with Stugotz| Youtube & Podcast