Richard Wesley is an Associate Professor in playwriting and screenwriting at NYU’s Department of Dramatic Writing (DDW). He was educated at Howard University in Washington, DC, graduating with a BFA in 1967. During my tenure at DDW, he was the Chair of the department and a great counselor to his students.
Below is a Facebook post by Mr. Wesley after the recent shootings of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and the tragedy suffered by the Dallas Police Department.
July 9, 2016
“Numb. Emotionally; psychologically. I’m in some kind of state of shock, I guess. Maybe the whole country is; or, at least the part of it that is sane. The daughter of one of my close friends asked, on another thread, whether this summer feels like what we Boomers lived through back in 1968, one of the absolute worst years in the history of our country. I don’t know, anymore. I was in my 20s then. I had a resiliency this older version of myself may no longer possess. When you’re young, wounds heal more quickly. The hot fire of anger has time to cool. Hopefully, a crust of wisdom gained from the experience can form and that wisdom will, in turn, lead to better decisions the next time one encounters the monsters of hate and nullification rampaging across the landscape and infecting the body politic.
If there is one thing I can say to my friends’ daughter, it is this: Do not lose Faith. Dr. King was right: The arc of the moral universe IS long, but it does bend towards Justice. Never stop working toward that end. Every African American in this country is bound by Blood and Memory to an African Man and Woman who survived the Middle Passage to birth a Progeny who survived chattel slavery, who passed on their strength to children who survived the Klan, Jim Crow and Tulsa, who in turn passed on the Dream to children who cried at Emmit Till’s funeral and used their tears to fuel a struggle that ended with Barack Obama in the White House. You are the next generation and the middle of this new century belongs to you. This week is only one of many weeks of tests you will have to face as you continue to take your place in that long march toward Justice. Stand tall and face that test. You have your youth and ideals to energize you, the Wisdom and Memories of the Elders to guide you, and the power of The Many Thousands Gone to strengthen you. These dark days will pass.”