In June we released this statement in solidarity with the rising efforts of the Black Lives Matter movement and the Movement for Black Lives. In it we detailed the commitments we were making to further aligning ourselves with an anti-racist framework. We recognize that this work is ongoing and will never be finished until all Black lives are free from racially motivated violence, descrimination and prejudice. In the spirit of accountability, we committed to providing an update on the commitments we made in our initial statement. As of this time, there is still a lot of work to do, and we anticipate that our list will continue to grow even as we make the changes we have listed. Here is the original list with updates:
- We will implement mandatory annual anti-oppression training for all volunteers, board, and staff members.
- While some staff and board members have participated in online training, workshops and seminars, we are committed to providing an in-person training to our entire team when it is safe to do so. We will continue to pursue online educational opportunities in the meantime.
- We will improve hiring and management policies to address the disparity of access to jobs in the nonprofit sector.
- Some of these policy updates have been done, while some are still in progress. When complete, we will make these policies available upon request.
- We will implement new terms of reference for our programming committees that outline, in measurable terms, a commitment to diverse representation.
- This update is still in progress.
- We will intentionally leverage our resources (our space, our event support, our volunteers, our board, and more) to meaningfully support queer and trans Black, Indigenous, and racialized organizers and artists in order to increase culturally relevant programming in the City of Guelph.
- We have been finding and will continue to find opportunities to support artists and organizers from marginalized communities.
- We will continue to implement our pay-what-you-can model to make artistic and cultural programming accessible, while looking for ways to increase accessibility.
- We will actively reduce systemic exploitation within our organization to ensure that those involved (staff, board, volunteers, committees) are respected, recognized, and compensated.
- This is an ongoing process of reviewing our policies, procedures, and expectations.
- We will actively pursue the re-ignition of the Guelph anti-racist Memorandum of Understanding (2016) to facilitate community organizational collaboration and recommitment to these values.
- This has not been done but will be done in the new year.
We hope we can continue to grow and learn new ways for us to make our space more welcoming, our programming more challenging,, culturally relevant, and diverse, and our anti-racism framework to be more impactful. As always, we are open to suggestions, feedback, and criticisms. We will continue to embrace accountability practices by providing public updates to this and other documents that are developed in the future. These efforts will be made available on our website at www.silencesounds.ca