June 17, 2020
Arts Network Ottawa has been following the collective uprising against police brutality and systemic anti-Black racism. We have been listening, learning and acknowledge that there is work to do in our community and within Arts Network Ottawa.
STAND UP AND SPEAK OUT
We stand in solidarity with the Black community in Ottawa and across Canada.
We know that you are looking to us not just for words, but to take action. We are committed to using our privilege and influence to enact change. Our organization has benefited from colonial socio-economic structures, policies and systems predicated on white supremacy. We will work to identify and understand how these forces operate within our organization and do the work to dismantle them.
A long history of structural inequality is woven into the fabric of our nation, in the region and in our arts community. Arts Network Ottawa has recently shared published reports that highlight these long-standing inequities:
- Counting on Culture : Impacts and Indicators in Ottawa (2018) – Ottawa Culture Research Group
- Demographic Diversity of Artists in Canada in 2016 – Hill Strategies
Arts Network Ottawa, our staff and our Board of Directors will continue to commit to being transparent, accountable and active.
ACTIONS AGAINST RACISM
As an Arts Service Organization, Arts Network Ottawa will:
- Publicly state that we stand against anti-Black racism and racism in all forms.
- Complete our Diversity and Inclusion Policy and our Access and Equity Strategies by the end of 2020.
- Commit to working within an anti-racist policy structure with clear definitions of racism and racist actions that will not be tolerated within our organization.
- Ensure representation and inclusion throughout the organization’s leadership, program design, and delivery, of artists and cultural workers who are Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC).
- Continue to learn and work towards the removal of barriers we have in place and challenge current and future practices.
- Share resources and platforms for us and our community. We have started to gather them here on our website, and welcome additions that you think we could learn from or that our community should know about.
Recent events, along with the impacts of the current pandemic, are prompting a call for communities, and the organizations who serve them, to reflect upon the meaning and importance of equity, diversity, inclusion and access. We are doing this and strive to achieve these concepts in practice to reduce social inequalities, whether racial or otherwise.
We are prepared to listen to, and seriously reflect on, any criticisms you might have. We will do the work to listen and learn as we embark on an imperfect process. We don’t expect you to have all the answers, but we are here to listen to you if you want to share how we can engage the community in a broader dialogue to foster change for the better. It is our responsibility and honour to do this work. If you feel we could do better, or have questions, concerns or suggestions, and wish to anonymously provide feedback, we have added a form to our website that will be directed to the Executive Director and the President of the Board of Directors for follow-up. We also welcome you to reach out to our staff directly.
We have been taking small steps but will now take leaps. We invite the community to hold us accountable.
Arts Network Ottawa staff and Board of Directors