Clown is one of the few forms in theatre that does not distance itself from the audience. As a clown, I exchange looks, smiles, hugs, and chases with an audience; in fact, the clown can only live fully in acknowledgement of everything present. It’s immensely powerful performing clown in a corner of the Earth where loss has been experienced because the performance acknowledges that loss while also getting the audience to roar in laughter. That laughter is not an escape, it is activism in the body, it is collective resistance, it both redirects purpose and at the same time includes everything that is true in that moment. It is in that laughter that we—the clowns and the community—become partners.
–Sayda Trujillo, Liberating Terror, HowlRound
Clowns turn power dynamics upside down. So what happens when a clown serves as a board member—participating in nonprofit-style leadership, making budget and hiring decisions, balancing commitments and refusals?
When that clown (educator, leader, activist) is Sayda Trujillo, meetings rock on their foundations under the impact of deep questioning and personal reflection.
Today, we honor Sayda Trujillo for her incredible service to the board since 2017. Part of her leadership stemmed from willingness to share her discomfort with, and questions about, participating in a governing model so directly tied to White Supremacy Culture.
Sayda took on the formidable task of co-forming CWB’s Equity Council to create explicit policies, commitments, and accountability towards equity and anti-racist work. Most importantly, she encouraged the Board to consider how each individual can include their own vulnerabilities, passions, and histories in governance. Her legacy is her insistence that the work towards equity and anti-racism is not an agenda item or a policy, but a culture that we are each responsible for creating.
Thank you Sayda.
Learn more about Sayda Trujillo’s contributions to Clowns Without Borders:
The Importance of Breath – Sayda reflects on leading workshops for first responders in Guatemala
All Together Now – Listen to Sayda Trujillo, on air, as she talks (and sings!) about her work with CWB.
The BackPack – Watch Sayda talk to comedian Chris Brogan about being a clown and her travel essentials!