ANDREA FLECK CLARDY came to playwriting after writing in other forms and working in small press publishing. A member of the Dramatists Guild and the National Writers’ Union, she lives in Boston. She believes with Toni Morrison that “this is precisely the time when artists go to work.”
Thanks to Andrea Fleck Clardy for allowing NYCPlaywrights to publish this excerpt from her monologue SAYING THE NAMES.
After the first few months of vigils, I found a bookstore in St Louis that started selling Black Lives Matter lawn signs after Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson. I bought
twenty and offered them to my neighbors. Soon the signs kept their own vigil up and down our street.
A soft-spoken Black mailman named James knocked on my door early in the fall. He wanted to know where he could get maybe fifteen signs for his neighbors. I offered to
order twenty and have them sent to him. He was very grateful. Weeks later, he stopped by. “Just wondering about the signs,” he said. I told him they should have arrived long ago. “Listen”, he said, “It was nice you got this started but we can raise the money in my neighborhood.” I heard in his voice a polite expectation of betrayal. People like you mean well, he seemed to be thinking, but they fade in the stretch.
Then I got a call from someone named Brenda. She said she had a lot of stuff on her back porch and just noticed this big box with my phone number on it. So she was calling to let me know. I told her the box was full of Black Lives Matter signs I’d ordered for a friend to give out to his neighbors. For a moment, she said nothing. Then she said, “I’m blue-eyed Irish and my husband is from Haiti. We have five kids. My brother’s wife, Normal, is Pakistani. Family gets big enough, we’re all in this together.” She said she’d like signs for her neighborhood, too. So I took ten over when I picked up James’s box and told her to call me if she needed more. We hugged each other. When we gathered for our December vigil on the first Thursday,