By: Erick Acuña
When I started doing improv in Peru, I immediately fell in love with the art. I grew up in Lima and lived there until I was 24. When I moved to D.C. to work as a human rights lawyer, I knew something was missing. I was happy when I found WIT.
Well, I was happy and I was very nervous; it was my first time improvising in English!
In addition, I didn’t see many Latinos, like me, in classes or on stage. However, I was surrounded by great, supportive teachers and classmates. Fast-forward to today, I’m lucky to say I perform with a couple indie teams, and I’ll start teaching at WIT next cycle. I still notice the lack of people of color (POC) in the DC improv community today, despite the wide diversity represented in our city. The fewer POC on stage and in classes, the fewer POC we will see join our community. Recently, the community has been opening up the discussion on diversity to expand the voices in our community. The response has been positive and supportive. Some friends and I created the Facebook group, Diversity in DC Improv, to share opportunities to promote diversity (not only based on race and color, but also sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, etc.) in the DC improv scene.
We’re also hosting a Diversity Jam on October 22 at 11 a.m. at Dojo Comedy, and we invite improvisers of all levels to jam in a safe space. I’m excited to see what’s coming next! DC has such a wonderful community and I believe adding to the diversity of it will only make it stronger!