Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
In late May 2020, following the murder of George Floyd, which precipitated global Black Lives Matter protests, Dusk Dances’ leadership and the Board of Directors were spurred to meet and discuss the organization’s desire to engage in a meaningful process of change in order to actively support Indigenous and racialized artists and communities. To do so in a relevant and sustainable way, Dusk Dances recognized that engaging in a process of facilitated self-reflection and critical assessment would be required. It is time for us to provide you, our community, with an update on the work that we have undertaken and what the next steps will be.
Dusk Dances issued a statement of solidarity on June 23, 2020 via social media platforms and on July 13, 2020 via our e-blast, it reads as follows:
Dusk Dances is listening, seeing, learning, reflecting, conversing, and being shaken and incredibly inspired by the courageous voices from the Black and Indigenous communities, and from people of color. Dusk Dances has significant work to do.
Together with our Board of Directors, we are looking at our organization and its actions in the context of systemic racism. We have begun working on concrete plans as we must address our errors, biases, and our contribution to inequality and discrimination. Dusk Dances is committed to:
- altering our operational and artistic processes to better support the Black community, the Indigenous community and people of color
- enhancing our understanding of how we can bring equity, inclusion and racial justice to our practices, policies and programming
- doing this work diligently, at all levels of the organization, and with everyone who participates in our activities
- including the voices of people from the Black community, the Indigenous community and people of color in this process
We look forward to sharing concrete actions and next steps with you as we progress through this work.
Dusk Dances connected with Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO) and has engaged CPAMO to undertake an organizational review to begin this facilitated change process. Initiated in 2009, CPAMO is a movement of Indigenous and racialized artists engaged in empowering the arts communities of Ontario. CPAMO seeks to open opportunities for Indigenous and racialized professionals and organizations to build capacity through access and working relationships with cultural institutions across Ontario that will result in constructive relationships with Indigenous and racialized professionals and organizations. For info on CPAMO visit cpamo.org.
With CPAMO, Dusk Dances will review its policies and planning documents and will conduct focus groups with members of the Dusk Dances and wider communities. While engaging a diverse range of performers (since 2015, we have hired an average of 27% of IBPOC artists each year), Dusk Dances has not had specific conversations around race and bias with these artists and wants to invite their feedback. The focus groups will be concluded by November. The learnings from this work will result in a policy and action plan. The action plan will include training and education for Dusk Dances’ Leadership, Board, Staff and artists.
Dusk Dances is committed to the long-term process with CPAMO and to meaningful outcomes. We will continue to update you, our community, as this work progresses.