June 22 2020
As the recent anti-Black and anti-Indigenous tragedies have highlighted violence and discrimination in communities across North America, we acknowledge that we as an organization have benefitted from the systemic racism in our society.
HTYP’s mandate is to create theatre for young people, and we are keenly aware of our responsibility to model the world we want to see: one that affirms justice and equity for all people. We have attempted to model these principles through our past planning and programming, most recently in our postponed production Mi’kmaq Stories: Past & Present. The process of partnering with a team of Mi’kmaq artists has been a rich opportunity both to learn and to develop a positive process of collaboration. However, as an organization led by individuals with a primarily white settler background, we know we have much more work to do to become an explicitly anti-racist organization.
We are using this time to learn, to listen, to reflect on our past complicity, to engage with this struggle, and to determine how to work towards justice and equity through our future activities. We encourage all white people to join in this work.
Specifically, we are actively working towards:
– Listening to and learning from voices of communities that have been oppressed, and educating ourselves without expecting BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) communities to do the work for us.
– Developing policy and procedures that acknowledge and actively dismantle white supremacist colonial structures in our administration and artistic practice, and replacing them with anti-racist action. We will begin by mandating anti-racist and anti-oppression training for all staff members.
– Increasing and amplifying diverse perspectives on our board, in our staff, in our programming, and in our casting and hiring, with consciousness about the methods we employ in these areas.
– Developing an internal work culture that welcomes, values, and protects the well-being of BIPOC people.
– Developing new initiatives to connect with BIPOC communities, including mentorship opportunities for emerging BIPOC artists, in ways that affirm, amplify and honour their voices, humanity and artistry.
We intend to share this work as we refine these goals and work to implement them. Please email us at HTYPinfo@gmail.com to discuss these activities or with further suggestions.
We must do better.
We will do better.
Because Black and Indigenous Lives Matter.
RESOURCES FOR MORE LEARNING
Resources on Anti-Black Racism in Nova Scotia, offered by the Community Sector Council of Nova Scotia:
This link (https://www.csc-ns.ca/anti-black-racism/#in-nova-scotia) includes multiple resources on topics including:
- Information on Anti-Black Racism in Nova Scotia – both historical and present-day;
- Organizations and Programs that are doing anti-racist work in our Province which you can support today; and
- Training, Education, and Recommended actions for Organizations to take to make their workplaces anti-racist.
For parents of white children, here are some resources that might give you a new perspective, and some tools to use when talking to children about racism: