Anti-Racism Virtual Town Hall

Anti-Racism Virtual Town Hall

As an organization, Calgary Arts Development has committed ourselves to bettering our systems regarding equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility (EDIA). This summer Calgary Arts Development is hosting a series of virtual town halls to discuss issues around the deep-seated racism that exists within our communities and systems, and how we can further develop anti-racist policies and practices governing our work.

On July 29, 2020, Calgary Arts Development hosted our latest town hall which focused on vocabulary (words and their underlying concepts and examined experiences) as a response to suggestions and recommendations from the previous sessions. They were then used to create starting points for a deeper collective discussion and actions to build EDIA in the arts sector and in Calgary moving forward.

The town hall was joined by Dr. Brea Heidelberg and Ruby Lopez Harper to help build our understanding of race and anti-racist vocabulary with a focus towards how these concepts apply in the arts.

The town hall was hosted on Zoom and was interpreted in American Sign Language (ASL). A transcript of the town hall is available below as well as an unedited version of the chat and a list of links that were shared.

Melissa Tuplin: Well we have a lot of really great things to get through today. So we might as well get started, I do want to respect everyone’s time.

Welcome, you’ll notice that I am not Patti. Patti is on a well-deserved break right now. So my name is Melissa Tuplin and I am the Community Investment and Capacity Manager here at Calgary Arts Development. Welcome to our third… is that our third? Welcome to our anti-racism town hall that we are running every two weeks right now. We are really excited today to have some special guests joining us. We are going to dedicate this space to them today. As I said, Patti is away this week but she will be catching up on the conversation we’re having here.

So just a few housekeeping things before we get started; we have our two ASL interpreters with us today, Janice and Kimberley. In order to ensure that both interpreters and speakers are actively visible throughout this event, we will ask that if you’re not speaking you turn your cameras off. This way you can click the top menu of your video screens and select hide non-video participants, and that will essentially pin whoever is speaking along with the interpreter on your main screen. They will be switching on and off and they will also be turning their cameras on and off as they do so. 

We will be having a presentation shared at one point. So you can use the menu that appears on the top right hand to switch between the presentation view, and the speaker screen, so that you can pin the interpreter or the speaker as needed and can do so throughout the session. 

We have again our tech, Marc, running the event for us today, thank you very much, Marc. If you have any technical issues, please connect with him directly. I believe that he has renamed himself as CADA Tech Marc. You can also connect with me throughout the event if you have any questions about the technology. 

We are using this transcription app called Click the red box at the top of the screen if you would like to use it. Unfortunately, it is only in English right now and it’s not 100% accurate, but it can be used to follow along today’s conversation. I know that otter is currently working on other languages at the moment. Once again we are recording this meeting for future reference and to share with folks who couldn’t make this time work. So the meeting, the transcription and the public chat will be posted on the website in a couple of weeks for future reference. Please note that while we will not share any private chats in the recordings or publicly, as Zoom keeps shifting and updating, there is a small possibility that when we download that chat, any of your private chats may be visible to us we just want to surface that and be very transparent about it.

So if you have joined us in the space before, you’ll know that we do use group agreements to set shared expectations and commitments to safety and bravery in the spaces that we occupy together. So the agreements for the online town halls, they’re iterative and they have been adapted from the group agreements that we use for our peer assessment meetings. I believe somebody will throw a link to those published group agreements into the chatbox and that they were included in the invitation. But I want to highlight just a few things that are going to be really important for the space that we’re sharing today.

So we all commit together by being in this space to share language that respects everyone, to speak from our own perspective and avoid making generalized claims or assumptions about others’ identities. By not interrupting others and keeping our mics on mute and our cameras turned off unless you’re speaking. Being mindful of how much time and space we each take up in discussions and making time and space for others to speak. Recognizing that vulnerable interactions can occur and creating space to acknowledge and discuss hurt or offence if it does, We will honour the knowledge and experience others share. No one knows everything, but together we know a lot.

We acknowledge that we are all learning, and may be at different places on our journeys, we will be patient with ourselves and others as we remain open to that continued learning. We acknowledge the difference between intent, and impact, and that the impact of our words can sometimes be harmful, even when the intent is not. We acknowledge and respect the unique traditions and rights of different First Nations, Métis, and Inuit nations and communities. We recognize and acknowledge that Black, Indigenized, and other racialized voices are not monolithic, or representative of all Black, Indigenous, or racialized experiences or voices. This conversation is meant to be centered on the voices, experiences and perspectives of Black, Indigenous, people of colour, and racialized people. We recognize that asking people to share in this space is a request that requires emotional labour and vulnerability.

Calgary Arts Development commits to the promise that there will be no retribution against people for the stories and perspectives that they share. And we ask that by being in this space as a participant, you commit to the same.

Any participants who use harmful or disrespectful language, or who are actively disregarding these agreements will be asked to leave the town hall, and if they choose not to leave, they will be removed.

I’d like to invite my colleague Taylor Poitras to talk a little bit about something that we have been bringing here around bystander intervention. Taylor is serving as our active bystander for this session, and is available to be in communication with to privately chat with if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe or see that participants are using harmful or offensive language. Today, some of what we’re talking about is the language we use when we have these conversations, so I’m wondering Taylor if you can hop on quickly here and tell us what you’re talking about when we describe you as a bystander.

Taylor Poitras: Yes.Oki Hello everyone, my name is Taylor. If you need to talk to me you can just private chat at any time. So in the spirit of talking about shared language and ongoing learning I’m going to share a little bit about what I’ve been learning and CADA staff have been learning about something called the bystander effect. And some people might already be familiar with the term bystander effect, but it basically refers to the phenomenon where the greater number of people present, the less likely people are to help a person in distress, and distress might might be something like a moment of harassment, experiencing discrimination, bullying, an actual crime, or an emergency situation.

And there are a number of reasons that bystander effect can occur, which I won’t get into in great detail today, but there’s plenty of resources that I can share afterwards that go into some of the science behind that. But I will highlight one of the key observations of the bystander effect is that the behaviour of others in a situation strengthens the bystander effect if they remain passive. However, if others exhibit active reactions, then the bystander effect might be reduced. So in other words, if there’s an individual, if there’s an individual taking action, it’s more likely that others in that situation will also respond.

So, an active bystander is a person who witnesses an emergency or power-based violence, recognizes it as such, and then takes action and does something about it. And there are specific methods that can actually be employed or utilized to help de-escalate a situation and reduce harm. And as bystanders we need to be especially vigilant and aware of what disrespect, harassment, racism, and hate violence look like in order to be able to stand up and intervene when people need it the most. So you could compare being not racist with being a passive bystander and being anti-racist as being an active bystander. So the key distinction is actually taking action in those situations.

So anyone can be an active bystander. I would invite everyone in this space to, to kind of take on that role and in your daily lives as well, but especially for, for those who are hosting conversations or community gatherings such as this, whether it’s online or in-person and inviting people into that space. It’s really important I think to have someone there who is able to sort of jump on situations and be that person. And that people know that they can reach out to.

So part of my role today is as an active bystander is to make sure that we’re all agreeing and upholding the group agreements that Melissa went over.

I’m going to pop in some resources in the link if anyone’s curious about learning more about bystander training. A really great resource is There’s also online courses and resources from the Centre for Sexuality, through their Calgary Gets Consent project. And lastly, the folks at Community Wise are also further developing bystander training tools to accompany their AROC—Anti Racist Organizational Change training, and the Learning Channel has a really great podcast that I will also share in the link below.

Melissa Tuplin: Thank you very much. Taylor I really appreciate that.

Alright, so we will be opening the floor for questions and conversation after our guests speak, and we do hope to hear from as many of you as possible. So, after they finished their kind of formal presentation, if you would like to speak, you can open the participant’s list at the bottom of your screen and you’ll see a raise hand button. You may also indicate that you would like to share or ask questions in the chatbox. We will have my colleague Gregory Burbidge watching that chatbox either for public chat or if you want to privately ask him a question, and we will share that back to our speakers. If you are selected to speak, please clearly state your name and give a brief pause before speaking so that people have time to find your screen and know who they’re listening to. If your zoom username is different from the name that you’ll introduce yourself by, you can use that three-dotted menu to update your name, with your pronouns if you would like to as well, so it’s easier to find you.

So I believe that is everything that I need to talk about right now. Before we move on to our guest speakers, I’d like to ask my dear colleague, Sable Sweetgrass, to welcome us into this space here today.

Sable Sweetgrass: Oki! Thank you Melissa, my name is Sable Sweetgrass and I am the Specialist for Indigenous Programs with Calgary Arts Development. So thank you all for joining us today for this town hall and I’m here to acknowledge that this is the traditional territory of the Blackfoot, the Niitsitapi, it’s what we call ourselves, Niitsitapi people, which includes the Kainai, Piikani, the Siksika, as well as the Tsuut’ina people, the Dene people, and which is just southwest of the city, and the Stoney Nakoda which is west of the city along the mountains, the Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley bands within Stoney Nakoda Nation.

And so today this time of year we are in, where I’m from Kainai Nation, we are in a time of ceremony, our Sun Dance is about to take place and the Sun Dance is one of our, it’s one of our biggest ceremonies of the year, and not too many people outside of it would know exactly what it’s about but it’s really, it’s about renewal, it’s about honouring the land, honouring the spirits of the land and coming together as a community to pray for the well-being of everyone and everything. This is, there’s no way that I can possibly explain what the Sun Dance is, but it is in a sense a way to renew and honour the relationship that we have with the land and this is vital to do this every year and the Sun Dance ceremony for us, for the Kainai Nation, has been ongoing for thousands and thousands of years, it is a ceremony which is older than Christianity, it’s one of the oldest ceremonies in the world and it has never stopped. There’s the idea that, out there that all of our ceremonies, First Nations, Indigenous people’s ceremonies were lost – that’s not true. Not for the Niitsitapi people here in southern Alberta. And even though those ceremonies were banned by the Canadian government in the late 1800s, our ceremonies were done in secret. A lot of tribes, nations across North America did lose their ceremonies because of the ban on these spiritual practices across Canada and the US but the Kainai nation and Niitsitapi people we still have our ceremony, so I wanted to acknowledge that it is happening and that we really need to continue to, as Canadians, renew our relationship with this land because it is home to all of us, it is home to our children, our grandchildren, and for the future generations that are coming, and we have to think about them and think about their future.

There’s an idea with First Nations people about thinking seven generations ahead, and considering when you’re, when you are creating, when you are working and whatever you do, you consider how this will affect seven generations into the future. So I think that is what we need to do today when we are, even as artists, what we do and how we create and what impact that has on the earth. Thank you.

Melissa Tuplin: Thank you Sable, I really appreciate that. That’s centering for us today.

So now I would like to introduce our amazing guest speakers here. We have invited Brea and Ruby, whose work deeply intersects with conversations around racial equity, and specifically how that applies to the arts.

So Dr. Brea Heidelberg is an arts management educator consultant and researcher focusing on the intersection of the arts and other fields of study. She joined the entertainment and arts management faculty at Drexel University in 2017 and currently serves as Program Director. Dr. Heidelberg is a contributor to the recently published Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Performing Arts Workforce and Diversity Resistance in Organizations Volume II. Her current research involves the professionalization of the field of arts management training and development of arts managers and management issues unique to small and mid-sized nonprofit arts organizations. Her consulting work focuses on human resource issues in the nonprofit arts, particularly issues related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

We also have Ruby Harper Lopez, the Senior Director of Local Arts Advancements for Americans for the Arts, which I’ll refer to as AFTA. Mexican, mother, wife, dancer, photographer, poet and social justice warrior, her portfolio includes leading field education efforts centered in equitable practice, leadership development, local arts advancement, disaster preparedness and emergency response, and community building for the arts agency Field Arts and Culture Administrators and Arts Marketers. She is the Chief Architect of the National Arts marketing project conference, leads AFTA’s arts and culture leaders of colour network, and the Leadership Forum program that produces affinity-based leadership development programs. She is a mentor for the Arts Administrators of Color Network. Her work is mostly focused on equitable access grantmaking supporting individual artists community development, economic development, cultural tourism marketing, disaster preparedness, and public art.

So, we’re going to invite Ruby to talk about her work in the, in this area and get a big picture view of things before we zoom in and hear from Brea, who along the way we’ll ask them to unpack some of the phrases and concepts that they and others use so that we can all start using some shared vocabulary. And then afterwards we will open it up for a question and answer conversation. So I will jump this over to Ruby. Thank you very much.

Ruby Lopez Harper: Thank you, Melissa and thank you everyone for setting such an inviting and welcoming and open stage, I’m so looking forward to having this conversation. I do want to drop in the chat for those of you that might be interested, it’s Ruby Lopez Harper, and my pronouns are she/her/hers and I’m calling from the lands of the Nacotchtank tribe, and I’ve put a link in the chatbox if you’re interested in learning more about the native tribes of the DC Maryland metro area. And so with that, I want to start with first just acknowledging that globally, but specifically to where we’re located in the U.S, that there is a significantly affecting time happening. And so some of the information I’m going to share is kind of quote-unquote from the before times, and I’ll share a little bit about information that we have gathered kind of midstream in this experience so if you’ll indulge me let me kind of share a little bit about that.

So prior to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, we had done a scan of local arts agencies, that is one of our primary focuses and where we tend to spend a lot of our research muscle gathering information and understanding trends, and specifically around cultural equity we found that about 40% of the local arts agencies that responded to the survey, and it was you know it roughly, I can put the number later but you know it was a couple thousand that responded and you know about 40% of them had a dedicated diversity policy that addressed staffing or hiring procedures. 21% of that 40% had their own written, had written their own policy. 19% had adopted a policy that was developed by an umbrella entity. But we still had you know about 34% of local arts agencies indicating that they had not yet adopted a formal written diversity policy that governs their staff and hiring procedures, but that it was something they were thinking about.

When it comes to governance, you know even fewer respondents had that formal explicit statement that I think is really a hallmark of intentionality around diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility work. The diversity policies that address board, and commission members, grant-making and funding, contractors, interns, volunteers, vendors, facilities, and then the decreases, you know, just kind of keep moving down from there. There are several areas where local arts agencies are working inside their communities and so as we’re looking across those different areas it just incrementally drops. And, you know, I say that, to kind of platform the idea that a lot of the work that we have been charting has really been around the correlation of explicit formal policy that guides and governs the initiatives around diversity, equity, and inclusion or, that inform or that drive or that empower are really the key to seeing, then activation and action.

But then we have a survey that is around salary, and it documents five-year cycles. And finding in that, in that particular survey that numbers are changing, but maybe not changing in the way that we want, and so kind of trying to get underneath what are the specific specificities around the policy that drive initiatives or that drive action to then push and advance different outcomes.

And so with that frame, what we did in early June this year, we released in March kind of going back to an organizational survey to just kind of chart the process of what organizations we’re dealing with, how deep is this impact going to be around, you know, closures, travel restrictions. A lot of the organizations that fund arts and culture around the country in the US are driven by local option taxes and so different communities secure additional revenues that are then filtered through the local arts agency that then filter out to arts and culture organizations and artists. And some of that collection happens through a tax on hotel nights, or a sin tax in one of our communities that we’ve heard about where there’s a tax on cigarettes. There’s rental car taxes. There’s portion of the sales tax, so it just kind of depends on the resources and the ability, the political ability of certain communities to be able to allocate that. So within that infrastructure, all of that is starting to be affected profoundly because of the extended closure now that we’re in—a lot of the groups that closed in mid-March are still closed and anticipate being closed or in limited operation, some extending clear out into summer 2021.

In June, when we started to see the uptick of focus on civil unrest and, you know, a lot of the conversations coming out of the focus on the murder of George Floyd, and understanding that there was a catalytic moment where people were paying attention in a way that they hadn’t had to before, that really gave fuel and impetus to this conversation in a way that, you know I’ve been involved in this work from a… didn’t have a vocabulary perspective about 15 years ago, and to see the momentum and the energy around what’s on deck right now, and the opportunity for the conversations to be had in a very obtuse and explicit way, is just changing the dynamic of how people are approaching the work.

And so what we asked in a subsequent iteration of the organizational impact survey was to find out how organizations were either being hindered or bolstered by the compounding of political climate, coronavirus pandemic, and then civil unrest. And you know what we found is that a large number of them specifically stated that it is not hindering them. And we were able to also understand a number of different ways that they were activating within their community—several organizations, just over 1,000, issued external statements, so whether that was to cut to customers, media, public in response to the racial equity movement so that manifested in a, in a number of Black Lives Matter statements that organizations were committing to centering Black communities, Black voices, Black artists and really ramping up their efforts.

And then you know dedicating space and time for staff and board to have conversations about racial equity, about 46% of the respondents were activating that as a mechanism to create space. Americans for The Arts, for example, we were given Juneteenth off as a holiday to reflect and learn more about the, the meaning of the day and its importance that has now been codified as a formal company holiday, which is exciting and really great and I think so perfect because for me as a staff person, I want to be supported in the passion that I have around equity and making space and supporting and acknowledging seeing, hearing all of these things. And so that was one way that we did that, we also set up a library for staff to have access to learn more about different elements of equity and so, for example, I purchased a book about Black trans history to understand more about intersectionality and how different identities, when they are overlaid, can further and deepen, compound, the effect of inequity within different systemic considerations and so that’s been, I think, really helpful.

I’m hoping that there will eventually be more action around that library, and then they the organization also chose to match our donations to either Black Lives Matter or anti-racist causes, which resulted in about $10,000 in donations being matched by the organization, so it really gave folks, an opportunity to speak to the things that matter to them and you know, Black Lives Matter is definitely an important movement but I also have an affinity around immigration issues, and I identify as Mexican, so Latinx, Hispanic, those conversations are important for me as well and I consider that as I look at our long-term commitments. You know some of the other ways were also internal statements to acknowledge to staff, the position of the organization or the commitment to convey the commitment of the organization around racial equity efforts. And then also, there was about a third of the group that indicated that they were implementing new or enhanced programming that addresses racial equity.

So you know that’s just a little bit, I don’t want to take up too much time, I know Brea has an amazing amount of insightful information that I think is going to also help add additional frame, you know, but I just wanted to kind of again give some context to the the the magnitude of the moment, the, the excitement and the underpinning of what is possible if we are able to leverage the momentum that we’re experiencing right now in order to activate actual change. I think there’s been a sentiment in the field that enough is enough of navel-gazing, we’ve talked it to death, now we just have to get shit done. So with that I will pass it to Brea. Thank you.

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: Great. Thank you, Ruby. So I’m going to go ahead and share my screen. If you could bear with me a second to make sure that I do this correctly. And while I am doing that. I will just share a little bit about myself. So you’ve heard the bio, but the other half of what it is that I am and do is as a woman of colour who has worked to not only exist but to thrive in the field of arts management and how that manifests itself in academia. So, that is how I come to this work. I have, I’m going to share some technical information, technical information, meaning the sort of theories and concepts in some words. But I’m also going to, if I’m allowed to, I think I need to… I think it’s being angry at me for trying to share, share a thing so hold on one second, but I’m also going to share some personal experiences with you, and I hope that that’s okay as part of the, part of the experience. This is, of course, assuming that this screen share will work for me.

Open System Preferences. Probably one.

Okay, we’ll try it one more time and then if that will not work for me then I will just go on without it.


Alright, so

CADA Tech Marc: Brea, it’s Marc. Are you able to?

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: I am. There we go.

Alright so now that the technical gods have decided to have mercy, let’s jump on it. So, the thing about DI or DIA or however those letters tend to show up in whatever order is that people tend to take them as a, as a grouping, instead of really giving the space for each of those things to breathe and to really think about what those things mean in context. So, instead of treating it like the way my toddler treats LMNOP as one long letter, thinking about the fact that diversity means that the organization or the ecosystem or whatever it is that you’re looking at is made up of many different types of things.

Diversity is that piece of it. Equity is making sure that all of those different types of people and things that are making up the diversity are treated in ways that work for them, not to be confused with all being given the same thing. And then inclusion means that everybody that’s in the space feels like they have a right to be there. And some of this is really old hat for a lot of you, but I think it’s really important to start off any conversation by thinking about how each of those things are lego blocks that fit together. And in order for anyone to either be in a system, treated equitably in that system, feeling like they have a part or stake or ownership in that system, they have to have access to that system. So that’s how all of those letters sort of work together. I see a lot of people spending time focused on which letters go first and in which order. I liken those conversations, too, if any of you have ever been in a conversation about getting a new mission statement together or a vision statement, that’s like arguing about a comma for 30 or 40 minutes, which some of us have had the experience of, so…

So, when you’re thinking about the ways in which white supremacy shows up. There are overt aspects of white supremacy. And while there is the line here in the picture that you’re seeing that has a demarcation about what’s socially unacceptable and what is socially acceptable, I think one of the reasons why we are in this space and as a global community, having the conversations that we are is that that line has just gone up and up and up and up and up. And in my lived experience, I am seeing a lot of these things that were not socially acceptable when I was younger, that are now re-socially acceptable and I mean re-socially acceptable because of some of the experiences that I hear in the today times mirror, some of the things that I heard my mother or my grandfather, or other family members talk about as negative experiences of their past. So it’s not that these things are new, it’s that these things have resurfaced, and they have resurfaced in ways that are, in many cases, are deadly.

But in the realm of things that are socially acceptable you see a lot of things that can permeate your organizations in addition to permeating your everyday life. So things like denial of white privilege, or racial profiling, you don’t sound black, respectability politics, tone policing, they show up in our public policy systems, they show up in our schools, but they also show up within our organizations. So, it’s important to note that because there’s this thing called false neutrality, that tends to happen in organizations that are beginning or in the initial stages of equity work. And it is this thing where people that they aren’t really interested in doing the deep deep work of equity work, meaning the ongoing sometimes it doesn’t feel good work. They’re not interested in doing that work at the onset, they would like to pretend as though their organization, their work, their impact on the community happens in a vacuum or a bubble. But as we saw on the previous slide, there’s so many other things happening in and around the world that permeates your organization. So there is no such thing as a neutral zone when it comes to this work.

From the foundational premises that the canon is, is racist and and sexist and ableist and doesn’t speak to the LGBTQ community. The fact that most repertoires are also not neutral, bylaws are not neutral, algorithms are not neutral, if it was created by a human being, then it has some bias in it because humans have bias. So, a lot of times I will see organizations fall back on this false neutrality when it comes to things that have been written and codified without investigating the fact that somebody somewhere at some point in time decided these things were a thing.

So part of this work, part of what I’m seeing in this work also is a newer version of the savior complex, and I’m sure many of you are familiar with the saviour complex, but this is the assumption that you in your position of power, whatever power you may hold within an organization, you have the authority and the wherewithal to provide the arts, the right thing to a larger community. And the problem with this is that it is presumptuous, and it does not honour the lived experience of all the people that may come through your doors that may want to experience your artistic offerings, right. We’ve seen this have a couple different iterations so the initial was, I know what arts products are good for you and you will have your Shakespeare and you will have your Picasso, and you will enjoy it and you know you’re welcome for the gift that we have given you. We’ve seen it with cultural programming. We had these after school programs for these unwashed masses because if we don’t give them these things, the youth will be on the streets, The streets as being the most dangerous place on the planet regardless of what streets those children actually live on. But we know what’s best for them, and we will provide programming to that effect.

Now we’re seeing it, especially from a funding perspective of okay we understand that equity work needs to happen but we’re going to be very prescriptive in the way that equity work happens within these organizations and what we will fund for people to have this work done. And in many cases that savior complex manifests itself in ways that stifle the iterative and ongoing process that is equity work. So savior complex shows up a couple of different ways within the arts and cultural ecosystem.

Intersectionality is just the idea that we are no one thing at any given point in time. As I’ve had different experiences, both in academia and in the arts world, you know I’ve joked to my friends I really wish I could tell if the reason why I’m, I’m having this experience was my Blackness or my womaness, and I can’t tell, and isn’t it a shame that I can’t just split myself into those two identities so that I could figure out which bit was problematic for them. But no one of us can do that.

And we have these issues or these issues with different pieces of ourselves without even understanding that the list of items that are here are the ones that are most commonly talked about, but as you see on the next slide, Loden’s Diversity Wheel, there’s a lot of other things that also come into this, so your communication style, your work experience, family status, and we’re really seeing that come to a head now with a the the pandemic. I have a three-year-old, so family status is the thing that most impacts my ability to work right now. And thinking about the whole person is really important as you begin and continue on your equity journey for this very important reason.

You want to avoid tokenism and thinking about having a truly diverse organization from a staff, a board, who you serve perspective, means that you’re not just looking for somebody that for all of the other aspects on Loden’s Diversity Wheel really conform to who already are in the organization, and you’re looking for a person that is only different on one of those aspects. As a Black woman in academia, once the mandate comes down, the equity-based mandate comes down to make sure that there is a person of colour on every search committee, guess who gets to be on every search committee? Yours truly, right? So, thinking about the ways of how intersectionality can and should be an important part of what your organization does is really important. That also requires you to take stock of who’s in your organization or who’s at the decision-making table, and who needs to be invited to that table and welcomed to that table. And does the table need to change? Does the seating need to change at that table? Or does it even need to be a table in order to make sure that everybody has a welcome and inclusive experience there?

Another thing that tokenism brings with it is education fatigue, so if you have those one or two people in your organization that represents some type of other from your perspective, those individuals are disproportionately called upon to run the equity work, to engage with consultants, to do the reading group to, to be a part of this work in ways that might actually cause them harm and at the very least, might fatigue them.

You have to think about the fact that they’re doing whatever their work is and most of us in arts and culture understand that we are already overworked anyway, and then you add on top of that the education and work for equity work which they may or may not be well versed in, and the fatigue and sometimes trauma of having to educate somebody who, in real time has yet, has never had to have this experience before. So education fatigue is something that you, you might come across, either for somebody else in your organization, or for yourself, which is why when it comes to equity work self care is really important to having self care mechanisms that are codified from an organizational perspective. So providing standards and procedures for your staff and your volunteers to engage in self-care when necessary, and also on a personal level, having a self-care practice or practices that work for you.

Equity is something that nonprofit, as has discussed in earnest. And that is really just the idea of having a statement with no action, whether that be a Black Lives Matters statement or a cultural equity statement, and then not doing the actual organizational work to actively have that statement be a lived practice throughout the organization. I think sometimes organizations forget that equity work should be from the top to the bottom. So I worked with an organization that had me come in and do a workshop on facilitating equitable meetings, everything all the way down to the meetings that you hold within your organization needs to be filtered through the, the type of experience that you want people to have, the type of equity that you want to embody, so thinking about how to do the work throughout the entirety of the organizational life and cycle is something that is really important, and people are watching.

Speaking of people watching, one of my favorite, and I’m using that term facetiously, but one of my favorite parts about the work right now is that I’ve seen a number of organizations who have drawn a very purposeful line in the sand and have said, “Now we have a Black Lives Matter statement, and as far as we are concerned history starts today.” Right. And so people that they have actively harmed, as recently as 20 minutes before they came out with that statement rightfully have questions about how sincere is this or, wait a minute, you’ve caused me harm very recently and watching organizations in real-time do this sort of purposeful amnesia, about how they may or may have caused harm in the past, so when you think about equity work it’s not just the equity work of starting from when everybody or the decision-makers in the organization have said, “okay, we’re going to start today,” it’s also about restorative justice and acknowledging past harms because people that you want to engage in your organization, the more diverse staff that you want to have, is looking to see what it is that you’ve done in the past, and how you’ve worked to rectify any harm that has been done as you begin this more purposeful equity work.

All of what I’m talking about are all the things that I’ve mentioned is a part of organizations’ equity journeys. So there’s this diversity-resistance continuum, where at one end you have complete resistance which is, I’m going to be discriminatory and racist and sexist and all the bad “ists” without care for the legal or financial consequences—“I just believe that you know only I am awesome”—and that’s that. And then you have discrimination prevention, which is “I’m not really interested in being equitable but I would also not like to spend a lot of dollars on lawsuits so I will do the bare minimum.” 

Access and legitimacy where I find most organizations work their way to or stall out which is “I will invite people into the organization, I believe that we’re a meritocracy,” but if you look underneath the covers the actual systems in place are still largely inequitable, so these organizations tend to have a lot of tokenism, a lot of turnover for people that don’t conform to the, the identity norms that already exist within the organisation. Moving forward, there’s actual organizations that are doing full inclusive work, and then integration and learning of integration and learning is the space where an organization says, “Ah, equity work is hard and it doesn’t always feel good and sometimes we’re gonna get it wrong, and we have to learn how to rebound and so we are continuously learning and integrating that learning into our practices and codifying those practices.” So that’s the diversity-resistance continuum.

Some types of bias that can show up as people work their way along this continuum is the symbolic bias. So, this is the instance where you may present, “Oh there’s this issue, this equity issue within the organization, and you get the pushback that everything’s actually fine.” In the United States, my favorite version of this is well, Obama was president and so therefore everything is okay. So symbolic bias is just the presumption that, because we are not in the 1950s, um although it may look very similar nowadays, but year wise the number on the dial does not say 1950 so everything must be fine now and why are we even talking about this. One of my really head-scratching consulting moments happens, and this happens fairly often, is whenever I’m asked, “Isn’t it racist to even talk about this stuff?” and I still can’t really pick apart exactly where that question comes from; I’m trying to figure it out. But this is the type of bias where that question is housed.

Modern bias is where you get tokenism from or where you get instances of people who believe that their organization is equitable or diverse and inclusive and it’s really not. So this idea that you are very tolerant, but you’re only tolerant to people that have really bought into your cultural norms, your identity-based norms and they might only be different on one identity factor. So you can see this in the hiring trends, a lot of the executive directorship and artistic directorship hiring trends in the United States in the past decade, where it’s not just white men anymore, now it’s white women too. So you’re only getting one difference in identity marker but this is what organizations are saying makes them diverse, instead of thinking about, across those intersectional spaces that I talked about.

Ambivalent bias is what you see when an organization says that they want to include people and be more diverse but actively avoids actually integrating their organization. This is very much an organization that is still a proponent of the saviour complex. I want to invite the unwashed masses in to educate them about my artistic discipline or my artistic practice. I do not want to engage in an artist talkback, I do not want to actually speak to them about their lived experiences. I’m not going to engage in a collaborative artistic process with them. It is very much sage on the stage, speaking to the presumptive less educated individuals.

So as organizations move across these different spaces and types of bias, this is something that has come from the safehouse Progressive Alliance for Non-Violence where in it I’ve experienced this myself, where you are invited into an organization, and you are encouraged to call out some of the issues and problems that you see, but then, are, in reality, considered a problem, once you actually articulate some of those issues and ways in which they can or should be addressed.

Oh, can we make sure everybody that’s not speaking is muted? Thanks.

And then the denial of racism so we, you know, as I’ve mentioned before the symbolic bias shows up, and then is the attack until the individual exits the organization. This is presented as Women of Color in the Workplace, but you could copy and paste this for a lot of people who are trying to enact change. And this is why, you know, speaking up on behalf of equity issues can be difficult and can cost you um jobs and connections, but it is still important work to do. And the more collective action around this work, the more that funders sign on to this work, the more that people with positional power with an organization sign on to this work, the less likely this type of outcome is. Because there are more people and it’s not just one individual, and it’s easier to single them out when it’s just one.

So the last two things that I’ll get to are bureaucratic racism or bureaucratic harm. So, this is the instance where an organization has bureaucratic processes in place and they, and they’re prima facially neutral, so that means if you’re looking at them they seem neutral, but in practice, they actually cause harm to individuals. Organizations will rely on that as a way to say, “No, we’re equitable. We have a set of standard process in place and we make everybody go through that process,” without looking to see if the process itself is biased or causing harm.

Finally, toxic intellectualism, and it’s amazing that Nonprofit AF just recently had a blog post about this. This is that navel-gazing bit that Ruby was mentioning in her comments. I hail from the land of academia where this is our bread and butter. Toxic intellectualism is the idea that if we talk a thing to death, then it will have been solved without us actually doing anything. And it also is a stalling tactic so this shows up on this diversity resistance spectrum as well. It’s a way for people to say, “But … what about?” It’s a way for people to say “maybe we should take our time on this,” or “maybe we should hold off on making a decision.” The inequitable practices and harm, or not holding off on the harm that has perpetrated against individuals, so I would encourage us all to make sure that our action is matching pace, or at least moving quicker than the harm.

And that is it for me. Thank you for listening, and to my nerd moment via memes, and I will pass it back to Ruby.

Ruby Lopez Harper: I’m like! This is the moment in the agenda where I just kind of have a what?!.

Um … So, you know next in our, kind of I think dialogue and framing and context is really just talk a little bit about, you know, when you’re moving from theory to action. And so, um, you know, how people are actively centering equity I know I mentioned a couple of things in the survey responses, but it’s deeper than that. And, you know, those are kind of momentary reactions that don’t necessarily equal systemic or long-term change. And, when I think about some of the efforts that have been underway, you know, some of it has been as simple as activating stronger language. I know that there’s been a significant movement within our organization to name the thing, because if we can name it, we can deal with it, we can.

>We name it, we can address it; if we can name it, we can measure it, we can figure it out, we can poke at it. But if we kind of dance the dance around trying to make everyone feel comfortable, it alleviates our obligation to responsibility. It makes space where we don’t have to take action, and we can subside and take comfort in just the conversation, the conversation is always enough. But the reality is is that it isn’t.

Ah you know, so, and Brea you know I would love for you to come back online on video because I think some of this has been such such a back and forth that we’ve you know had some really interesting conversation around over the last few years, and just trying to explore, and, you know, contemplate, understand. I think it’s been fascinating for me as a woman, and as a Mexican in the workplace, that is, you know, that is the arts and culture field in the US, we are, you know, 70, I want to say 76 or 78% female white-led. And that’s significant, you know, kind of, to your point that like the demography is shifting but it’s not shifting a lot.

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: Yeah, especially when you think about like the levels; so we’re, we’re predominantly white female-led at entry and mid-level, and then executive level is all white dudes. And so the shift that we’re seeing in the shift from predominantly white dudes to predominantly white women isn’t really that, like, they—white women—were always there. So all you’re doing is just grabbing somebody else and that’s, that’s to say nothing of homo normal normativity as well. So there’s also that you know when you think about the intersection of LGBTQ community, a white male that for all intents and purposes, lives a very, a life that is very familiar to hetero normative white males is still only doing a little bit of the thing right, I’m only changing one identity marker and calling it diversity and equity.

Ruby Lopez Harper: And I think that resonates right because when, again, that specificity, while sometimes I think can feel very limiting is actually to me really liberating because then you’re naming the thing that you’re going to focus on. So, as we’ve been kind of going through our own journey at the at Americans for the Arts, some of the conversations that have been happening lately, you know, everyone, and not to judge anyone right now, I think there’s a lot of passion and has been a lot of passion. I think now is a moment where everyone’s rising together and let’s get these things done. You know, but I’m also kind of I don’t know if pragmatic is the right word for it, and you know, I feel like we’re in a situation where everybody’s woke switch is on.

And, you know, everybody wants to rally around for Black voices and that’s great, and appropriate, and timely, and important, and absolutely something that needs to be centered. But if we’re going to name that thing, it has to be done with intentionality. And I think, for me, the spectrum is so broad you know when we really started our cultural equity statement in 2016, it was an expansive statement, so it brought in socio-economic status, geographic, no no not geographic, so socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, just a couple, disabilities. And so for me to honour that means that we need to be thinking about that in every capacity that we’re moving. And so, and so to take a stand forward on just centering Black voices, to me, doesn’t make space for anything else and so how do we address that. And then…

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: And I come, I come at it from the other space like and we’ve had this conversation too. So like conversations are on my end, it’s the, I see global anti-Blackness and anti-American Blackness specifically as a tide that can rise all ships so any of those other identity markers, when you’re thinking about sexual orientation or gender identity or disability, those things have been marginalized and then you add being raised Black on top of that and it’s like, “Alright then, now we’re really talking about some some true some true true deep deep marginalization because, you know, and I think you have to start somewhere.

Ruby Lopez Harper: Somewhere.

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: Somewhere. And, you know, studies have shown or history has shown that anytime we think about race, it’s usually Black labour, Black bodies, Black sacrifice, and then everybody but Black people tends to benefit, so I’m thinking about specifically the civil rights movement and how that made huge strides for for immigration, for everybody, but Black people. Or I’m thinking about affirmative action where everybody is sort of American affirmative action, everybody’s idea of it is that oh it’s to get, you know, probably under-qualified Black people in the door, but it disproportionately benefited white women. So for me, I’m thinking about okay so if, if we’re going to name a thing, let’s name a thing that at least has some chance of shifting all the things up because I find when I’m talking to organizations about this work, they’re galvanized, but they’re terrified of naming too many things.

Ruby Lopez Harper: That is absolutely correct. And so I think for me, that brings up the idea that know your community. Right? It’s important to be intentional about who it is you’re trying to support, invite. You know I love our conversations when we get back and forth into this because, you know, on the other side, I’m always cognizant of where because it is important to address individual community, and see the disparities within that community and formulate the response tailored to that experience. And so for me, because I work nationally I’m working with, you know, 4,500 different local art agencies who all have individualized community demography that I can’t always start with race. Sometimes I have to start with disability.

Sometimes I have to start with, with socioeconomic status. Sometimes I can’t even start with gender equity which has been at the forefront of some of the, a lot of the work that I feel I’ve been personally impacted by. And so it’s interesting because you do have to centre, and be specific, but I think in different communities that’s going to manifest in different ways and what does that mean and how does that go through all the way into how an organization is living its values, how an organization is designing its programming, who are they working with, whose voices are being uplifted. And so I always find that balance back and forth really fascinating, because not everybody can start at race, even though that is the thing that’s I think most significant especially given what we know about the demographic shift in the US happening, right? Like we know that we will be a um… majority of people of colour by 2040. We’re still on track. That hasn’t been…

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: And, and I think the other piece of like delving into some of the ways that anti-Blackness shows up can have utility across different ways of thinking about the issue when it isn’t just race, like even if you’re dealing with a largely immigrant population. I think about we both have experiences in Columbus. So, race, race is definitely a thing,

Ruby Lopez Harper: A thing.

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: But, but I would also be really interested if they wanted to tackle some of the issues that I saw in that community from a colorism perspective.

Ruby Lopez Harper: Ummm.

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: And within the immigration populations, you’re seeing colorism show up in ways that if you wanted to tackle that first would probably have some of the similar, if not, maybe better outcomes than if we were just to say this particular type of immigrant population or if we were just to make it make it race.

Ruby Lopez Harper:Right, well you know and that, you know, brings up the point of, you know, when you mentioned colorism, it’s such a thing that we have to contend with. You know, proximity to whiteness is what drives all of that division, right? That if I’m, if I can pass white, then I’m better than another LatinX Hispanic colleague, that’s darker than me, or more Indigenous looking than me. I’m 100%. But, you know, that reads differently to people.

And, you know, when you’re thinking about all of the—to Tyson’s point about intersectionality, it is a consideration, it should always be a consideration. It is on the shoulders of the organizations, though I think to determine how many identities can you address, or how many identities are within the capacity or within the need, right? So I’ve started shifting some of the conversation away from, you know, “Oh you’re all racist and your bad people and therefore we need to change,” because it’s like getting, that’s not getting me anywhere in conversation—people are like, “I’m not racist” and that’s all they want to talk about.

So for me, I’m thinking, okay. There is long-standing deeply rooted trauma in communities across the country. And there is an obligation on every institution that moves within its community to understand the systems that it has propagated or established that have marginalized and disadvantaged with intentionality community, you know demography within their community, and what does that look like, and what does that mean, and what is the role of that organization, when it recognizes and acknowledges its problematic history, to be a part of the healing of that community. And in that healing, what are the actions, what are the things that need to change and can change, and should change in order to improve the conditions for the community, right? 

So whether it’s, it’s, inviting new voices, whether it’s, you know, adjusting the grant team and funding allocations and resource distribution and you know then you get all nerded out on all of the systems and structures that need to be addressed, and you know mapping of all the things. But, but I think that’s where it’s important, it’s important to acknowledge who has been harmed by your organization. And what is your obligation to heal that rift, to heal that trauma, and to build those bridges again because that’s what community is. 

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: Yeah. Yeah, I agree. Yeah, I agree.

Ruby Lopez Harper: I like what’s going on. Yeah.

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: I’m sorry. I agree. Well, let me give examples that oh okay.

Ruby Lopez Harper: So smart. No. I don’t ever want you ever to be any kind of dude for me. I celebrate you.

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: Let me jump into some of these questions real quick, so I had a question about terms. What does homonormativity mean? And that is the, that is the idea that more privileged relatively privileged members of the LGBTQ community have taken on the ideals of hetero normativity and reified them to the detriment of others within the LGBTQ community. So when you think about the movement for equal treatment when it comes to things like marriage and employment and health care, in many instances, white homonormative men and women who want to be in monogamous same-sex relationships who want to adopt or have a child, who want to move to the suburbs with 2.5 children and the picket fence and the puppy, those ideas are sort of held over those who might be transgendered or have different gender identity or expressions, or who want to live a polyamorous life. So anything that doesn’t fall under what it is that heteronormativity is doing so that’s what homonormativity is. 

And then I had a question about… So that leads me straight to one of the other questions which was in the civil rights movement in the 60s, which rendered several black LGBTQ activists invisible, how do we ensure that that doesn’t happen?

So, one of the, one of the ways to ensure that that doesn’t happen is to know, know your history, know your history and honour your present is the way that I talk about it with people whenever we’re looking at historical movements and what that means for today. Because you know all of this stuff is cyclical even, even the conversation we’re having now, it was multiculturalism, then it was, you know, different types of diversity, and now it’s social justice and like we’ve had this conversation before a number of times. I think it’s on a 20-year cycle? 15-year cycle? Typically…

Ruby Lopez Harper: Typically 10 to 20. 

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: Yeah. So there’s that. What I mean by knowing your history is that a lot of, a lot of leaders did not conform to the hegemonic ideal. And so therefore, their contributions to a lot of movements were erased. More and more, you’re getting some of the story about and I forget her name so I’m gonna put it in the chat at the end of it once I look it up because as a researcher I don’t like myself very much right now, but the first woman that actually refused to give up her seat was a younger black woman who in the time between, I believe I’m telling the story right somebody 

Ruby Lopez Harper: Claudette Colvin. 

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: Yeah, Thank you. In the time between her making the move and then actually organizing, she be, she was or became an unwed 

Ruby Lopez Harper: Teen mother.

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: Teen mother. 

Ruby Lopez Harper: Yep. 

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: And if we’re thinking about politics of respectability again, stuff that shows up in that socially acceptable white supremacy, an unwed teen mother is not going to get you the type of play nationally as Rosa Parks. Right. And so that’s the history that we’re given. And the same thing has happened for a lot of Black LGBTQ activists so really unearthing those stories, honouring those stories from a historical perspective, and then listening to the people that are speaking now, there are a lot of people that do not conform to some hegemonic idea who are doing really good equity work, and honouring them in the now is a way to avoid their erasure, their repeated erasure, if I’m going to be specific. 

Colorism versus race, again, is another technical question. So, a race is just your racial identity and how you identify, but within every race, there is a spectrum of skin tones, and so colorism is the, the process of honouring or uplifting or privileging those that appear lighter or closer to whiteness at the expense of anybody that looks darker. So there is, and that also comes into play whenever we think about people that identify as multi-ethnic. So, it’s specifically speaking from the Black community. 

If you’re biracial, which, in American terms usually means Black and white parent, the lighter you are, the closer to whiteness you are the, quote-unquote, better off you are. And if you can pass, and really not have anybody readily recognized that you have blackness in you, then you know then you’re more likely to be able to get that loan or to buy a house in a particular neighbourhood or to have better educational outcomes. And in the United States context specifically, this is reified by the one-drop rule. So, one drop of Black blood means that you are Black. Whereas in other cultures and countries, there is more of a gradient scale of identity. It did exist in Louisiana for a number of years that’s where mulatto, and the idea that there was an in-between class, like a demi class that was a holdover from like French, and well just European ideals of those the lower class which would just be Black. There’s the white class which would be this awesome thing to be, and then if you happen to look up and be in the middle, then, you know, maybe you get a couple extra points. 

Ruby Lopez Harper: So I got my wits back and now I know where the questions are coming from.

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: Ah.

Ruby Lopez Harper: So I’m going to grab a couple at the moment. So the one that I want to kind of hit on is related to, you know, well one someone noticed that I didn’t mention religion as an identity marker. I will say that it’s, that is my shortcoming, it is trying to see if it is defined within our definition of cultural equity. Citizenship status is another one. Gender, gender identity, race-ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, geography I said it was but I said it wasn’t but it was, citizenship or religion. And so I’ll also drop the link to our cultural equity statements to give you a sense of what that looks like. And so, you know, within the structures that we move yes, religion is absolutely a consideration. There is, you know, we know that arts happen inside religious venues and structures and culture is a deep part of how people also embody and embrace religion so I did want to take that one and acknowledge that that was my shortcoming. Because I tend to shorthand things and I shouldn’t. I kick myself every time I do.

The other one that I wanted to bring forward though I think it’s really interesting because, you know, Brea and I have also had conversations around this topic, is the idea of undertaking anti-racism work, when you have an all white staff, and no resources to hire a new employee to head the work. So here’s, so the first thing I want to say, I did a training with the Racial Equity Institute, and then did like 2.0 training, and one of the elements that they talked about was the the cyclical nature of the anti-racism work that happens inside organizations, and how it tracks across a continuum and where you are and and this idea that there is a stretch and a stretch by a stretch and a pop, a stretch and a pop, but every time you stretch you stretch a little bit farther into, you know this like desired state.

And I am inside an organization that is white-led and predominantly white, and so as someone who is inside an institution that is, you know, that has some people of colour, that are doing work that has, you know, white colleagues that are also doing work, I had the question that you know in in all of the decades, I think the Racial Equity Institute has been doing these trainings for like 20 years. And in, in their experience with all of the organizations that they’ve worked with, have they ever seen an organization finish the process, finish the circle and not change their staff representation? And everyone in the room got quiet. Because, what was I asking, right? And the trainer did not miss a beat, older white woman, and she said, “No, no, there is no way to succeed at this work without an infrastructure shift at, at some point in this cycle.” Because, there is no amount. I will never understand what a, what a lesbian has experienced in their lifetime. I am a cisgender straight female like I don’t know what that lived experience is. I will never know. 

I can read all the books. I can have all the friends, but as an internalized concept I will never know what that feels like. And it is the same within infrastructure hierarchical positional power. You know who holds wealth, who does all these things. If those things don’t shift, you will not be able to succeed at the work, you just you just can’t. And it was sobering, it was, it was disappointing. I wanted to stomp my feet and cry a little bit because I’m like, but because I believe in the passion of my white colleagues who believe so deeply in this work. And yet, to, you know, to look at them and know that like yeah but you’re taking up space. And I look at my colleagues in the field and I love and adore and admire and uplift and I’m inspired and moved, but they’re taking up space. And what does that mean if we really, as a field, if we want to see this change happen? There are going to have to be some hard actions, some tough decisions. 

And I think only then do we really liberate ourselves as a field to really see this change happen. So, yeah no, it’s great, it’s cool, do all the work, get all the education, get as woke as you can, be open, invite other voices, do all of that stuff but to really see the work manifest and and bear fruit, you’re going to have to shift who’s doing the work. 

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: We have a number of people that have had their hand raised. We’re gonna

Ruby Lopez Harper: Oh crap a doodle, snoodle. 

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: Don’t say that. So, uh, we’re gonna call on DJ Stagez, am I saying that correctly? 

Ruby Lopez Harper: I talk too much. 

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: So, um, we’re gonna call on DJ Stagez, am I saying that correctly? 

Ruby Lopez Harper: Stagez Stagez. Okay. I can see how I can shift here.

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: Nope. Yes. All right. Yes. 

DJ Stagez: Yes. Yeah, I’ve got it. Thank you so much, very helpful I think so. 

This is very exciting. I got a couple questions for you. Um, the first one is organizations are not people so they just run by people but they’re not people do work on principles. And I, what I commonly hear from people is, um we are working out to the need to integrate our organizations, but we don’t know what to do so I’m working on a kind of a chord, especially for Black people to qualify for organizations like a way to deal with Black people in general times, because I think we all are diverse, we all are different. When a Black person walks in from a different background, different experience, different identity, they have their to do differently and sometimes Black people in other people may not be able to experience some racism, compared to other Black people. So I want, I’d like you to speak on that. I’m working on something called like for organizations on how to deal with Black people in general. 

And then the second question I have for you is the very obvious opposites of the Black male in the arts world especially in organizing and campaigning, I hear a lot of voices and I’m grateful for my Black sisters and my other sisters who are not Black. But it’s not a lot of Black men, when it comes to, you know, I’d rather working especially in our squad, I would like you to speak to that as well. 

And then the other thing is, a lot of people will even classify themselves as white will say, “What can we do to help?” “What can we do to help?” Is there a way in which, as an organization, there’s like structures that can be put there so that if they have these questions to take him beyond just a personal opinion. So it’s my question. Thank you very much. 

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: And I can jump in, I’m gonna. I’m gonna answer your questions out of order and then pass it to Ruby. Is that okay? I’m gonna, I’m gonna assume this okay. 

So I’m going to start with the second question which is that there are not, like an educator would, that there are not not a lot of Black men in the field and that is absolutely correct. 

Ruby Lopez Harper: Yeah. 

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: And what. So this is some of my research. And what I’ve been able to ascertain is that it starts very early on with conversations about what is acceptable from a career choice perspective. And what I mean by that is, once you move past the doctor, lawyer conversations of your two, three, four-year-olds. The idea of arts management as a career is not really talked about at the middle school, high school level. It’s something that, it’s something that has been a noticed issue. It’s something that we’re trying to break into. And when I say we, I mean at least arts management educators that I’ve been, I’ve been associated with. 

We’re just trying to get some awareness about the field, and to let people know that there are viable careers where you don’t have to be poor because of your career choice. Now that’s a moving target in arts and culture. But what I’ve noticed is that you’re bumping up against this idea that you have to make money in order to try to buy your way out of marginalization or to buy your way out of harm. So if you’re already a Black male and you were just born that way, whatever your socioeconomic status is, you can’t backslide, you have to move forward, you have to be working towards intergenerational wealth and so that means that you’re going to see a disproportionate rate of Black men that do actually go to college, going into things like STEM fields, business, and other spaces where the return on investment is more readily apparent. 

So what can organizations do to help this particular issue? Paid internships, which is going to help everybody, umm working towards salaries that actually reflect the training that is required to enter the field. You know, a true meritocracy instead of the sort of the moving goalposts that we’ve seen for the professionalization of the field and what I mean by that is we have these standards that we say are required for entry and advancement into the field, but they shift depending on who you are and what you look like, which means that the salary ranges also shift into and can largely depend on what it is that you, you look like. It’s not a codified system by any means. And to make sure that there are opportunities at every step of the educational process for people to be fully engaged and included and reflected in the artistic disciplines. 

So seeing yourself reflected, not only on the stage, you know, during a particular month or week, but seeing yourself reflected on the stage seeing yourself reflected in the administration, seeing yourself reflected in the audiences would help encourage people to take the career as a career, a viable career option and to actually engage in the field to do it. 

That also means that you would have to diversify your arts management education pool. You know, we always like to joke that not every Black person knows each other but every Black person in arts management education in the United States does because we have to have a PhD, or else we won’t get hired while our white counterparts need to only have a Bachelor’s or a Master’s. We have to have a certain number of years in the field. And so because that number is so small, and because there are so few circles to actually run around as arts management educator, we do, by and large, know each other. 

The first question with how to deal with Black people. It’s very difficult to have an overarching umm like set of rules for engagement, and I think anything that shows up in those rules of engagement would probably just be largely applicable to treating people as people. I think some particular areas to be mindful of are some of the things that I brought up like education fatigue and not asking people about non-work-related race issues. So, I mean, thank god everybody’s written off Kanye West at this point, but I can’t tell you how many times in like 2007-8-9 that like people at work were, “Oh can you explain Kanye West to me?” “No, I can’t.” I don’t happen to know him. I don’t really care for him. And so, you know, being asked about non-work-related race issues or somebody assuming that I want to talk about George Floyd at work when I’m just trying to not like cry, or being mad that I need to be at work right then anyway. 

Don’t ask me if I’ve watched 12 Years a Slave. I can’t watch that and come into work. So, you know, thinking, I think those are some great things to think about, like, be mindful of the conversations that you want to engage in, and recognize, I think that comes under the umbrella of recognizing that just because you’re comfortable with me, for whatever reason, because I tend to conform, I can conform to some of the identity markers that you deem is okay, doesn’t mean that I’m comfortable engaging with you in that way. So being mindful of that. I think would be a great place to start, but any other sort of like rules of thumb for engaging with with Black people specifically are probably going to just be any rules of engaging meaningfully and thoughtfully with individuals. 

There were other people with hands raised. Anne. I can’t see the last name because I put my marker over it. Oh, thank you. 

Anne Azucena: Hi. Yeah. My name is Anne Azucena. So my question is, when you talk, or I think when Ruby and you were talking about people taking up space and seeing that CADA has a big role in the equity work, why is it important that CADA’s staff are made up of people in the BIPOC community and how can you see CADA transitioning to this seeing that the staff right now are currently mainly made up of white able-bodied people. 

Ruby Lopez Harper: Ah. Ah. So let me start by saying that I know I was like, “You can’t do this unless you change.” Okay so that still holds. The thing that I’ll say that, you know, as I was reflecting on what I had said, which is why I was really quiet and kind of let Brea take that last question is also that there is an opportunity that I think um there is space to invite voices in a meaningful, thoughtful, intentional, purposeful, compensated way. So instead of gathering all of the, you know, allies of colour that you know CADA has and putting them all in or dumping them all in a room and treating them as advisors and extracting all of this great knowledge and and and building on their shoulders, I think it is important that that CADA acknowledge where it has opportunities to activate and empower and give agency. Because that is part of the work as well. Like we shouldn’t be asking our, you know, BIPOC leaders, colleagues, to do the work for us. You know, so I think that’s one way. But I’m still a big proponent that like, if we’re going to do this work we have to reflect the community that we serve. 

Um .. So um.. and I’m sorry I got distracted by a private question that came in. 

Um … So, so it isn’t perfect, you know. Part of why it makes it so hard, part of why it is challenging and I think, you know, gives people heartburn isn’t just that we’re asking for, you know, for opportunity. We’re asking for equality, we’re asking to be valued and seen and heard, and compensated at the same rate as the white folks around us. And until that happens until there is, you know, I’m not saying every white folk has to leave their organization. 

I’m just saying like can some of you, can some of the leadership be be distributed a little differently, can some of the asset and wealth-building be given space over to people of colour, can, can we start to break down the power dynamics and the systemic infrastructure that continues to close people out of having a livable, access to a livable wage? I mean there are so many things that underpin why it’s important that you know, it is scary, it is scary to me that I, even as a woman of colour could be taking up space and I have to reflect on that that in the role that I play right now in my community, in my organization, in the field that I have chosen to participate in. If I’m just sitting around uplifting and upholding systems of inequity because I benefit from them then I deserve to get the fuck out too. And unless I’m actively in there doing my work, and not just taking up space myself but bringing in other voices, making space for other people at the table. 

I never went to a single event in Columbus, which is like white white white white white white white white white without bringing along another person of colour, kicking and screaming half the time because the community was white white white white white white white, but it was important, it was important that I leveraged my access, that I leveraged my privilege to create opportunities for people around me. And what happens a lot of times is that when you have a dominant and only white institution, it is easy to fall into the trap of finding a comfort in thinking that you’re doing the work and believing that you’re doing the work, even if you aren’t actually making space for anybody else but your own voices. And that’s the danger. That is, there’s no other word, that is the danger. Because if we don’t make that space. If we don’t, if we don’t, we’re never going to change. And, and even in saying gosh, you know, can’t we stay an all-white institution and still get the work done is positional power, is privilege manifesting. Because how can you, how can you relate to the communities that you are not a part of and and and support and serve and invite and welcome and do all of the things if, if that isn’t who you are. 

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: Yeah. Oh, I’ll jump in on that. So I think um one of the things that that really sits with me is the, the underlying assumptions of retribution that a lot of those comments are diversity resistance sound like to me. So a lot of people that hold privilege and power, whenever they’re presented with the idea of making space for somebody else they’re just like, “Oh, this leadership change means that somebody is going to come like try to murder me in my sleep.” Because I know how I would feel if I had been left out in the cold for that long, and I’m just like okay so you have your feelings about whatever retrospect, you know whatever retribution you think somebody might be trying to have, but every leadership transition is not Shakespearean in nature. There are people that have already been doing the work, most of it gratis. 

So paying people for their expertise and their knowledge and for their ability to be still doing this work for as long as many people have been doing this work without agency support, without institutional support, without funding, is another really important thing. As we see these shifts, or as organizations think about their staff turnover, thinking about the, the work of retaining a more diverse organization, because you know, inviting somebody in to be the first anything within your organization comes with it some, some trauma, while you figure this out at that person’s expense. You’re going to make some mistakes. You need to sort of honor that. And, and, you know, work towards being a learning organization so that that person can stay. And I think that, you know, looking at organizational structure and positionality and power is also an important piece of this. So yes, your executive director might not be retiring or stepping down.

 But if you’ve got somebody at the VP level or any level under that, that you could hire a person of color and maybe shift the overall institutional structure so that it’s not so hierarchical, then you’re still doing good work, you’re still making progress. And so I think people assume that, and this happens in academia too when we talk about diversifying the field, it’s either you retire or you expire, and the structure itself doesn’t change and that’s how people assume that leadership change happens, but there are many more intersectional ways of thinking about leadership that ironically enough stem from communities of color. So there’s another place for you to learn some stuff. 

I do want to answer. There are there are two questions and then I’ll wrap back around to the raised hand so the two questions are: If an organization thinks it is being inclusive through some action, but in fact is not, how does the organization learn that they are not being inclusive? And the second question: Where is the balance between performative activism, which can feel like false humility, and honestly trying to move the needle towards change?

So, if it’s okay Ruby. I’m going to jump in and answer both of those things together because I think they’re interrelated and then you can say are too.

Ruby Lopez Harper: Yes, they are. Yeah. I’m good. 

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: Alright, the balance between performative action and honestly trying to move the needle towards change is probably going to be directly related to everybody’s comfort level. If you are creating change, you are, you are practicing, new ways of being and thinking, you are developing new neural pathways, you are growing. And that’s not a comfortable process. Does everybody remember puberty? Think that. Right. If it’s not a little uncomfortable, you’re not moving the needle forward. So, while the work can start off in a place of comfort, “Oh I’m enjoying reading about these things,” “Oh, I feel really powerful about the statement that we made. It hasn’t really hurt yet so this is awesome.” What I run into with most organizations is that their first failure is catastrophic for them. And the first time that they make a misstep and are called out on it, all of the work towards equity stops, because they’re just like I thought this work was going to feel good and that I was going to get treats. Not only are they’re not treats, but it burns a little bit and so I’m out. 

And, you know, your first failure is an important and necessary part of the process. And I think a lot of people don’t talk about that. And it’s important to note because all of those organizations that have caused harm in the past that are trying to turn over a new leaf and work in new ways and make action on their statements, everybody is watching for that first failure. I know I look for it with organizations that have caused me harm in the past, “Oh you got an equity statement now that’s cute. Let’s see what happens as people call you out about the harm that you recently enacted,” and it’s the real humility of acknowledging and trying to make amends or offering remedy, without any expectation of somebody forgiving you or endorsing you as a result of those actions that lets you know that you’re really on the pathway of doing that work. 

So, whenever you do try to do a thing, and this is part of moving past the toxic intellectualism, because the intellectualism feels good, right, like I said before the reading of the things, the making of the statements, those things feel good, moving past that towards actual action means that you have to make a definitive decision about what it is that you’re going to do and then start doing it, and wait for feedback. 

If you think you’re doing something inclusive but actually are not, people are going to tell you, people probably have always been telling you, it’s a matter of listening and training oneself to receive critical feedback in ways that doesn’t cause you to retaliate or get defensive and miss the gift. Because it is a gift that somebody who is from a marginalized community is giving you by making themselves vulnerable and explaining how you’ve caused harm. So if you think about it as a gift that somebody’s giving you, I think it can be a lot easier to then say okay let me stop and think about that and what it means for the action that we have taken. Let me apologize. Let me rectify this. Let me provide some restorative justice. So people will tell you. It’s just a matter of whether or not you are listening. Listening doesn’t always mean with the words, right. So, if you’ve tried numerous times to hire a person of colour, and you get to the final stages and they are consistently turning you down. They are telling you something about the interview process, or about what they saw about your organization when they were interviewing. 

If you can hire a more diverse staff and the turnover is three, six, nine months, a year, they are telling you something. You are receiving feedback about what your organization is and what it does behind the scenes, so you’re really training yourself to see, recognize feedback, and to act upon it. It is really important. 

Ruby Lopez Harper: So, we are, I want to honour everyone’s time. 

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: We are doing the two raised hands too. 

Ruby Lopez Harper: Yes, we’re about 15 past. So if, for those of you who want to stay, we will do the two raised hands. I’ve been trying to respond to some of the questions in the chatbox to kind of keep us moving too. So, um Brea if you want to just keep taking us and.

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: And yeah…

Ruby Lopez Harper: Keep moving. 

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: … So we’ll go with Wunmi. Please correct me because I hate when I butcher people’s names. 

Wunmi Idowu: Yes. Hello. It’s Wunmi—the “n” is silent. It’s about my country. 

Hi Brea. This question is for you. I’m a founder and director of a performing arts organization called Woezo African Music and Dance Theatre Incorporated in Calgary, and our focus is to preserve the African culture using music, dance, theatre and storytelling as the means. I recently graduated from the Rozsa Arts Management program, and the seven cohorts, meaning that they’ve been around for seven years since 2012, and we are the only first Black people in that management program. It’s very very disappointing. Just to buttress what DJ Stagez was asking, and as well as the question that you answered that there is a lack of representation in the arts management field. 

And I wanted to just speak about how to provide mentorship for artists to ensure that Black artists are developed in education in the community and as well as our productions and everything that we are doing is focused on initiating more Black voices to be heard. I took that position to be able to grow as an arts manager, but I have not really used what I’ve learned so I’m just kind of asking because you have similar background and how can I ensure, ensure that my community is being groomed and developed for their careers. 

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: So I’ll answer that question, both from a personal perspective and as an educator. So on the personal side, my mentorship spectrum is pretty multifaceted. So, as an individual I sat myself down and thought, what are the different areas of expertise or skill sets or knowledge bases or ways of being in this field that I want to cultivate and learn. And then I have specific people that can speak to different aspects of that. Not all of them are like higher up than me organizationally or in the education field. Some of them are elders in the community that have lived knowledge and like experiences and wisdom that don’t come from traditional academic settings. 

So I think, you know, taking a very broad-based approach and a compartmentalised, a quasi compartmentalised approach to mentorship is the best way to sort of navigate a lot of the stuff that comes up in the field. There are pieces of um there’s like mail merge and budgets and things that just hurt my mind and my heart from Excel and Microsoft Office, that I have a specific person that I go to with those issues. There’s also specific people that I speak to whenever I’m like, lamenting or looking for resources or self-care practices around, like what do I do when I’m denied a thing that I’ve already earned, and how do I deal with that disappointment and how do I process that as just as a person, as a human being and I have a mentor, or mentors for that as well. So I think, providing people within the field that want to either enter the field or advance in the field or thinking about your own mentorship circle, as a multifaceted thing is going to be helpful as far as opportunities for that, I know that a lot of art service organizations are now starting to think about that. So, whenever I don’t see a thing that I want in the field, I reach out and ask why it isn’t being offered, because a lot of people just, “Oh, that’s a great idea I haven’t thought about that let me get on it.” Dance USA has a specific person of color mentorship program, Women of Color in the Arts, has a mentorship program. 

Ruby does your, your network has one?

Ruby Lopez Harper: So the, well, the Arts Administrators of Color Network that’s located in Maryland has or DC has one. We have one that’s a separate program around internships that are not necessarily, it has a mentorship component. But it’s part of a bigger program. 

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: Okay, I just remember reading the words in all of the copies so I knew it was there somewhere. 

Ruby Lopez Harper: Yes.

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: Um, and then you know any of your art service organizations or discipline-specific organizations, if they are not developing these things, should be thinking about it. And I would reach out to them because there should be compensation and support for that, for both sides mentor and mentee. 

Ruby Lopez Harper: Uhmm.

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: Tyson.

Tyson Bankert: Hi everyone. My question is, especially in Calgary here I noticed that there’s a lot of talk about diverse leadership. And this can be for either of you to answer. But there tends to be a level of, you know, diversity happens. And then, but the people that, diverse folks, the people of colour still have to essentially behave and, and walk-in with really with whiteness, essentially. And so you know we talk a lot about certain CEOs and EDs who, you know, get into these positions and I always wonder, well, what they had to do to actually compromise a lot of those things. 

And I, then I started to kind of reflect on what structures are in place or what kind of needs to set some very palliative things that maybe might need to change in order for some of these organizations who want to reflect diverse, who want to be inclusive, but actually don’t have the policies or the structures in place, the decision making, that really helps to allow for these people to come as they are and their experiences, without having to then, you know, um yeah, compromise maybe it isn’t the right word but that’s just sort of what what I see often. Is that making sense or do you need more clarification?

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: For just to clarify. Do you mean what processes can be put in place so that the people that are the people of colour that are invited into the organization don’t have to perform whiteness?

Ruby Lopez Harper: Mm hmm. Yeah. 

Tyson Bankert: Okay. Yeah.That’s what I was asking.

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: I just want to make sure I got it. 

Tyson Bankert: And I think, specifically in leadership. So, you know, there are some there are a lot of there not very many, as we’re as we’re saying but there’s definitely quite a few folks who are in powers of leadership, people of colour. At the same time, they actually often reinforced the very things that people assume aren’t happening. And so, that to me it really comes back to the fact that, well, what kind of is structurally in place to actually keeping this, you know, white supremacy in place. And so, yeah and and so there’s this always this sort of back and forth so I’m just wondering whether you can kind of speak to that and how some organizations can maybe change a little bit, change those structural things in place, before they then ask someone to really be the token, or to have asked the three people of color to still have to operate in that way. I see that often. So I just want

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: Ruby, you want to open?

Ruby Lopez Harper: Yeah, so, so one, I think it speaks to what Brea just had kind of mentioned a little bit earlier about like you know organizations have to do the work and understand that when you’re bringing people of colour into your space, and you have to own like there’s work the organization has to do. So the organization has to acknowledge that it is a white-led, or predominantly white institution and what is problematic about that. What is problematic about that isn’t that the people are white, it is that as a predominantly white institution or as a white-led institution, there are standards and norms that are generally accepted as the way to do things. 

And when you are working in a predominantly white institution that includes uplifting and upholding a lot of these kind of Eurocentric white culture-based infrastructures. So that’s, you know, deep hierarchy, competitiveness, individualism. There’s like a whole list of things that manifest when you’re in that kind of an environment. And I think for an organization to even start to move the needle they have to acknowledge that that’s who they are and what is problematic about it, and the work that needs to happen. So some of that, I think, is acknowledging that there are different leadership styles and that there are different ways that, you know, value the outcome, not I mean like, for me it’s it’s come in the form of like, I’m not going to tell you how to get from A to B. I just need you to get to B so go figure it out, and making space for that. So that I’m not imposing my bias around, you know, very Eurocentric white cultural leadership processes. 

Umm and as a person of colour moving in those spaces and I’ve moved into spaces, the majority of my time in the workforce, I come from a predominantly corporate background. I worked again in a, in a community that that was white white white white white white white white, so I you know, I didn’t have a manager that was a person of colour until 2004 and I’d been working since you know 1989. So, with all of that said, there’s also work that I have done, and have made decisions and have lived my truth to be my whole self. When I left the corporate environment I said no more of that for me, I want to be one person, all the time I don’t want to be two different people anymore. And being intentional about, you know, bringing that up in my interview process with the organization that I’m with now, you know, does that, you know, how is that going to show up, how is that going to be received. You know what you’re getting I’ve been adjacent to this organization for a while I’m not going to come in and be quiet, like this is how I roll is that going to be okay. And, and acknowledging those so I think it’s both the work of the organization to acknowledge what needs to be examined, and it is the work of the individual to hold their ground even when it gets scary, because they think I would never. 

Brea and I, we just talked about this, we just talked about this like what two days ago that I don’t ever fault a person of colour, for, you know, bowing to the system, if it means that you’re not going to lose your job. We all have mouths to feed and bills to pay. And sometimes that has to take priority and it’s okay, but do it with, do it with acknowledgement, do it understanding, do it, understanding what you’re doing. 

And you know there have been some instances where I’ve had to be very real with organizations that I worked with about, like, I’m going to do this, but I need you to hear, and I need you to nod your head and say that this is what you’re asking me to do because it is important for me to have that labour acknowledged and sometimes that acknowledgement you know now is taking more in the form of compensation more in the form of, you know, how are you creating a balance to the emotional labour that now I’m bringing to the table and as, as we’re being asked to engage and you know making sure that that work is distributed. I mean there’s just so many elements and so many pieces but I think, asking the questions before you get inside the organization of how these things show up, will help determine if it’s an environment that you can navigate and will be able to weather. Versus like, you didn’t ask you got in there, it’s a total shit show like you knew it would be, and, you know, you come out traumatized and damaged and hurt and harmed and all of the things that can happen when we’re not in situations that nurture us. 

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: The only thing that I would add is that we all have work to do. So, for me, um, you know it’s not, and I’ve started really being a proponent of this, not making people of colour go to anti-racist trainings and equity trainings that are written from the perspective of of whiteness and changing white supremacy culture because that doesn’t speak to the work that I might have to do as a person of colour. So I think about, I don’t know if any of you have seen the the Black Panther movie but I really loved it I found that movie to be utterly heartbreaking because the Black American male wasn’t considered part of Wakanda culture because he had touched whiteness, because he was born in America, because of the proximity to white supremacy culture. And I think that that is honestly the true one drop rule.

If you have one drop of white supremacist culture in your lived experience or existence then you are tainted by it, and that you need to do some unlearning and some relearning. So, equity work, anti-racist work look different for people of colour who have in have internalized anti Blackness, have internalized white supremacy and so the way in which it manifests itself looks different and the work that needs to be be done is, is really, you know, is really powerful but often gets pushed away, because most of the trainings are written from the perspective of we need to educate and get and get white people on board. 

So, that is, yeah so like, I’m sitting in some of those trainings and I’m just like, “Oh, I would love to just make a smore and do anything else.” But the other thing that I would mention is that part of what would help change this is the fact that most white people are not exposed to any person of colour in an authority position ever. And so if we change that in the educational system, if we change that I think Sable said that a second ago as well and I totally echo that. If we change education if we change the way that people are exposed to people of colour and their forms of expression and their and their identities and their art, and their ways of being in ways that hold those things equal, then it’s not going to be as daunting, or like jarring to white people when there is a person of colour in a position of power or authority. 

You know as an early educator at Ohio State, I was exposed to students who were just like “you’re the first Black person I’ve ever met in person.” And, like, I’m there. I’m supposed to be teaching them, but like their concept of having a person of colour be an authority figure was like really rough. So, the idea that we all have some unlearning to do to make sure that we’re not reifying those practices is important to note and I still haven’t found like ready-made materials for that but I think that they should be developed. 

We’ve gone way over time, haven’t we. So sorry.

Ruby Lopez Harper: Yes, we have. Um, and now I’m hungry. 

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: Yes. Do we have it? Greg, can you jump in if we have any things that we are missing. If we’ve missed. 

Ruby Lopez Harper: Did we get to all of them?

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: Did we get to all of the things?

Ruby Lopez Harper: Yeah. And we started, I started to touch a little bit on the make, how do you make change occur if you know there’s every conversation institution controlled by anti-Black white supremists? How can we as a community introduce diverse voices and inclusive policies when there’s resistance? And is there a way to make change more comfortable for folks that continue to profit from settler colonialism and toxic intellectualism, and some of the some of the things that I popped into the chatbox were just around trying to understand. You know, one, change doesn’t happen overnight. Two, are there accomplices allies, other individuals that you can enlist in this with you? And then a few folks from the group started responding about connecting about some existing activity that’s happening so I just wanted to acknowledge that that was in there as well.

Melissa Tuplin: Thank you so much. And, again, thank you to everybody who, who stuck around with us. The recording will be available for those who weren’t able to join or finish the rest of the conversation.

But, Ruby and Brea, thank you very much for your time and for your wisdom, for sharing in the space with us here today. We are really looking forward to hopefully continuing conversations with you in the future.

For our participants, we are continuing this conversation with our every two weeks town hall. So the next one will be on August 12 at 3 pm, and the registration link will be in the chat. Yep. Perfect. Thank you Nick. And more information about the purpose and the agenda of that town hall will be released in the next couple of weeks as we reflect on what we heard, and what we talked about today, and thinking about how we can continue this shared learning. So once again, thank you so much everybody. It’s beautiful weather here in Calgary. So I hope that you all can get out into the sun for a little bit.

Yes, and as Taylor said, please share widely. Thank you. 

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: Thanks, everyone. I’m putting my email address in the inbox. I totally forgot that you don’t have a way to get in contact with us.

Ruby Lopez Harper: Oh sure and I do mine, and I am Ruby Lopez Harper. I’m on Facebook and Instagram if you want to connect. Totally happy to, to answer questions, be supportive and all those great things. Thank you so much everybody for being here. 

Dr. Brea Heidelberg: Yes, thank you, everyone.

00:31:33 CADA Melissa Tuplin (She/Her): Hello everyone, and welcome!

00:31:45 Xstine Cook: Greetings all from Xstine at CAOS

00:31:56 Tyson Bankert: Hello Everyone.

00:32:00 CADA Melissa Tuplin (She/Her): As you join, I will ask that you turn your cameras off, then click the 3 dot menu in your video screen to “Hide Non-Video Participants”

00:32:18 CADA Melissa Tuplin (She/Her): This will keep the speakers and interpreters directly visible on your screens

00:33:39 Wunmi Idowu (She/her): Hello everyone

00:34:02 CADA Greg Burbidge (he/him): Hi everyone! Thanks for joining us today.

00:34:40 Cesar Cala: Hello everyone

00:34:58 Pamela Tzeng: Greetings all!

00:35:44 VCC- Hagir Sail: hello hello everyone 🙂

00:36:08 Michelle Robinson: Oki folkx!

00:36:28 Cecilia Barboza: Hello everyone !!

00:36:30 Kunji Ikeda: Hi all! Congrats to Patti and JD for their thoughts on the Universal Income panel!

00:36:43 Kunji Ikeda: … is Tech Mark in a car?

00:37:05 CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her): He sure is! Haha if we lose him we have other hosts who can take over 😉

00:37:51 Cada Tech Marc: I am In a car, haha. My internet is down right now, so Im using public wifi.

00:43:04 CADA Amy Jo (she/her): Here are the town hall agreements and instructions if you need them:

00:44:12 CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her):

00:44:25 CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her):

00:44:33 CADA Greg Burbidge (he/him): Great explanation Taylor!

00:44:35 CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her):

00:50:25 CADA Helen (she / her): Thank you Sable!

00:50:35 CADA Greg Burbidge (he/him): Thanks Sable

00:51:03 CADA Stephanie Solomon (she/her): Thank you Sable

00:53:24 Ruby Harper: Ruby Lopez Harper, Americans for the Arts, Silver Spring, MD, She/Her/hers, I am calling from the lands of the Nacotchtank tribe. To learn more about the native tribes of the DC/Metro Area:

01:04:46 Wunmi Idowu (She/her): Thanks Ruby

01:04:54 CADA Greg Burbidge (he/him): Thanks Ruby!!!

01:05:13 Kendra Roberts: Thank you, Ruby, for your always insightful ideas and perspectives!

01:05:54 Ruby Harper: Hi Kendra!!

01:06:23 JD Derbyshire: Thank you Ruby

01:07:07 Ruby Harper: @JD Derbyshire, you’re very welcome 🙂

01:07:59 Ruby Harper: For those of you interested in the “before times” stats, they start on page 25 of this PDF:

01:26:12 Ruby Harper: For those that were interested in the salary survey from the “before times”:

01:29:17 CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her) – Active Bystander:

01:29:45 CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her) – Active Bystander: Thank you Brea!

01:29:55 Wunmi Idowu (She/her): Thank you Brea

01:29:57 Michelle Robinson she/her: Applause!!

01:30:04 Pamela Tzeng: Thanks Brea!

01:30:09 Alane Smith: excellent presentation

01:30:13 jaqs aquines (she/they): Thank you Brea!

01:30:22 VAlerie Planche: Thanks Brea!

01:30:31 Cecilia Barboza: Great presentation Brea, thank you !!

01:30:35 Durell Cooper: Thank you, Brea!

01:30:38 Tyson Bankert (He/Him): Thank You

01:30:45 Ann Marie Miller: excellent! thank you!

01:30:52 JD Derbyshire: yes! radical self-care as policy. restorative justice! toxic intellectualism! Thank you Brea

01:36:50 Melanee Murray-Hunt: So happy this is being shared!

01:37:15 Jocelyn Lehman she/ her: Thank you Brea – Numerous stalling tactics linked to your description of toxic intellectualism rang true as a reality in academia

01:38:28 Tyson Bankert (He/Him): Intersectionality will always have to consider race as one of the factors, so thank you for mentioning.

01:38:56 CADA Melissa Tuplin (She/Her): If anyone has questions, feel free to share them to CADA Greg or I via private chat, and we will pass them to Brea and Ruby

01:39:00 JD Derbyshire: thanks Tyson

01:39:19 Cesar Cala: In the civil rights movements in the 60s rendered several Black LGBTQ activists invisible (e.g. Bayard Rustin). How do we ensure that does not happen?

01:40:38 JD Derbyshire: thanks cesar

01:41:05 Wunmi Idowu (She/her): Absolutely!!

01:43:11 Michelle Robinson she/her: I wish organizations would look inward.

01:43:16 CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her) – Active Bystander: Thank you Ruby – so important!

01:43:28 jaqs aquines (she/they): This! acknowledgement of the harm created is ESSENTIAL in repairing community relationships

01:43:57 VAlerie Planche: @Michelle, let’s call them to to do just that!

01:44:13 Wunmi Idowu (She/her): More internal work needs to be done

01:44:38 Ruby Harper:

01:46:03 JD Derbyshire: mapping who has been harmed and taking on obligations to heal. yes!

01:46:44 Melanee Murray-Hunt: A teen mother

01:47:09 Ruby Harper:

01:47:12 Wunmi Idowu (She/her): Claudette Colvin

01:47:45 Cesar Cala: Listening to the people who are speaking now!

01:50:06 VAlerie Planche: Dumb question: is colorism the same as shadeism then? The Indian Act really perpetrated this in Canada.

01:50:21 Melanee Murray-Hunt: Yes.

01:50:33 Ruby Harper:

01:50:40 Melanee Murray-Hunt: I cannot speak to Indigenous context

01:51:02 VAlerie Planche: Thanks Melanee…

01:51:09 Melanee Murray-Hunt: I have heard it as shadism and colorism in African Diaspora communities.

01:51:29 Melanee Murray-Hunt: No problem

01:51:55 Amelia Marie Newbert (she/her): Not to direct the chat off track, but just a gentle reminder that terms like ‘stupid’ and ‘dumb’ just reinforce ableism and maybe consider using terms like ‘silly’ or ‘strange’ instead.

01:52:17 VAlerie Planche: Thanks Amelia! xo

01:52:19 CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her) – Active Bystander: Thank you Amelia.

01:52:26 CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her) – Active Bystander: Great check in for everyone.

01:52:38 Brea Heidelberg: Thanks for the reminder

01:56:42 Hagir Sail: @Malanee shadism and Colorism are used interchangeably to speak about the gradient skin colour within the same ethnic or race group from light to dark

01:58:11 Melanee Murray-Hunt: There are rarely black men in any arts circles either.

01:58:32 Ruby Harper: Hi Amelia – thank you – I would also say, consider not qualifying and just ask a question – everyone is on a learning journey

02:00:46 VAlerie Planche: Thanks Ruby: : )

02:01:36 Marcia Epstein: Article of interest?

02:01:47 Marcia Epstein:

02:03:10 Wunmi Idowu (She/her): Exactly

02:03:20 CADA Melissa Tuplin (She/Her): Hi everyone! We know it is 4:30 now, so if you need to leave, thank you for joining us! The full session will be available on the website in a couple weeks. We will answer a few more questions .

02:03:39 Hagir Sail: Ye see is a concept now? LOL

02:08:02 Cesar Cala: Support the agency of BIPOC leaders and their communities!

02:10:24 Ruby Harper: @Cesar YES!!! LISTEN to BIPOC!!

02:11:25 Melanee Murray-Hunt: Doing this work and experiencing retaliation is a real thing in Calgary.

02:11:37 Melanee Murray-Hunt: Yes.

02:11:45 Hagir Sail: @Malanee 100%

02:12:09 Hagir Sail: This was amazing i really enjoyed it,,,, i must run now!

02:12:53 Miguel Cortines: thanks for the important conversation. see you soon.

02:14:51 CADA Melissa Tuplin (She/Her): We are going to finish up after these couple questions and these 2 raised hands. Thank you all for your participation, comments, and questions!

02:15:06 Melanee Murray-Hunt: Good bye Hagir!

02:15:07 Barb Howard: Thank you Brea, Ruby and team CADA. Super helpful town hall.

02:16:03 Justin Waddell: But what happens in a situation, such as the visual arts in Calgary, where there are so few BIPOC with the security and ability to effect change in a community? How then can change occur when every conversation and institution is controlled by anti-black white suprematists. How can we, as a community, introduce diverse voices and inclusive policies when there is resistance? IS there a way to make change more “comfortable” for folks that continue to profit from settler-colonialism and toxic-intellectualism?

02:16:12 Cesar Cala: Moving from statement to action.

02:16:46 Ruby Harper: @Justin, Are there allies/accomplices you can leverage?

02:17:38 Ruby Harper: @Justin, I would also suggest – think of it as a long game – what are the incremental steps you can take – full systems change does not happen overnight but incremental change might…

02:17:48 Arran Crawley: Really enjoyed this. Thanks to all.

02:18:03 Melanee Murray-Hunt: Great, Brea!

02:18:14 Melanee Murray-Hunt: Thank You!

02:19:02 Melanee Murray-Hunt: Did Justin leave?

02:19:41 Justin Waddell: I’m here. Lol.

02:23:08 Wunmi Idowu (She/her): Thanks for the comprehensive answer

02:23:09 Jennifer Faulkner: The Cultural Human Resources Council had a mentorship program (Talent2Lead), but I don’t know what it’s status is. The focus was on people of colour, but I’m not sure where that’s at now.

02:23:39 Michelle Robinson she/her: Great to “see” you Tyson! ((Miss so many faces and great to read the names of folks here too.))

02:24:11 CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her) – Active Bystander: Great question Tyson

02:24:38 JD Derbyshire: thanks Tyson

02:24:39 Michelle Robinson she/her: Great points Tyson! I don’t see most organizations have any understanding of racial battle fatigue

02:24:55 Ruby Harper: @Michelle, I see the same thing

02:25:08 Wunmi Idowu (She/her): Amazing question Tyson

02:25:35 Pamela Tzeng: Indeed Tyson!

02:28:03 Jocelyn Lehman she/ her: Terrific guests today, – thank you CADA

02:28:50 CADA Sable Sweetgrass (She/Her): We need to demand change within arts education at all levels, from grade school to post-secondary, but especially at the post-secondary level. Institutions like AUARTS (formerly ACAD) have a long history of racism and discriminating against Indigenous artists and art forms.

02:29:17 Brea Heidelberg: Agreed

02:30:11 Tyson Bankert (He/Him): Agreed. The question wasn’t to put blame on the radicalized folks, but on the demand of whiteness.

02:31:05 Cesar Cala: We all have work to do

02:31:12 Ruby Harper: Absolutely on the demand or expectation of whiteness as the standard.

02:31:52 Melanee Murray-Hunt: I have so many issues with that rendering.

02:33:41 Melanee Murray-Hunt: As a black American.

02:34:01 Nicole Mion: Thank you to the speakers. Great session.

02:34:22 Jess Peña: Thank you so much Brea and Ruby <3

02:34:33 Cesar Cala: Thank you everyone

02:34:38 Jaclyn Silbernagel: Thank you so much!

02:34:39 VAlerie Planche: Thank you so much for all your labour and incredible presentations!

02:34:46 Maud Salvi: Thank you to Brea and Ruby, this was great.

02:34:53 Evergreen Theatre -Christina: Thank you!

02:35:00 Scott Carey: thank you!

02:35:06 Brea Heidelberg: @Melanee – the rendering in the movie or the statement about the movie?

02:35:09 Kendra Roberts: Thank you both so much for this town hall presentation.

02:35:10 Sara L (she/her)- Calgary Folk Fest: Thank you so much. I really appreciate this valuable dialogue.

02:35:26 Jocelyn Lehman she/her: Thank you for the generosity with your time, examples and moving from intention to action

02:35:34 Justin Waddell: Thanks @ruby. I am prepared for a long game. I am a tenured professor but one of only 3 in the University. To have so few BIPOC faculty in an Art School is extremely problematic.

02:35:34 CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her) – Active Bystander: Ruby and Brea – we can’t thank you enough for your time and perspectives.

02:35:36 Tyson Bankert (He/Him): Thanks, you both answered the questions from either end, structural changes and internalized racism.

02:35:51 Melanee Murray-Hunt: I have an analysis of the black American in that movie that varies from yours somewhat.

02:35:54 JD Derbyshire: thank you so much Brea and Ruby.

02:35:58 jaqs aquines (she/they): Thank you both, so much. I will share this recording widely

02:36:01 Collette Quinn-Hall: Thank you for your time and good words to both Ruby and Brea and all the participants!

02:36:02 CADA Greg Burbidge (he/him): This was amazing. Thanks!!!

02:36:03 Justin Waddell: Thank you both for your work and conversation.

02:36:03 Cecilia Barboza: Thanks you so much

02:36:09 Wunmi Idowu (She/her): I’ve learnt a lot, thank you so much Ruby and Brea

02:36:09 Melanee Murray-Hunt: It’s not totally different, but just another layer from living here and dealing with other blacks in the Diaspora.

02:36:14 CADA Nick Heazell He/Him: Register for the August 12 Anti-Racism Virtual Town Hall

02:36:15 Brea Heidelberg: @Melanee – gotcha!

02:36:18 Melanee Murray-Hunt: Thank you. This was great!

02:36:27 CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her) – Active Bystander: Please feel free to share this and other town halls widely. We know not everyone could tune in live.

02:36:50 Brea Heidelberg:

02:36:56 Ruby Harper:

02:37:02 Ruby Harper: Ruby Lopez Harper

02:37:18 Pamela Tzeng: Thank yoU!!!

02:37:24 Michelle Robinson she/her: Thank you

Group Agreements

Tribes of DC Metro area

Local Arts Agency Salaries 2018

Claudette Colvin

Cultural Equity

Picturing God as a White Man Is Linked to Racial Stereotypes about Leaders

Brea Heidelberg

Ruby Harper

Register for the next Anti-Racism Town Hall

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