by Lisa Mackay
When George Floyd was murdered at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis, and the footage made its way around the world, the outrage, anger, and social reckoning exploded on to the streets. The number of Black Lives Matters (BLM) protests attended by people of all colours and from all walks of life was historic, and according to the Washington Post, the level of media coverage of these protests was the largest seen since the Kent State killings by the National Guard in 1970.
As a result, the visibility of racist structures in society became unignorable. The intensity of the BLM movement, combined with the tragic numbers of missing and murdered Indigenous women, the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the video footage of an Elder being beaten by the RCMP, and the recent Stop Asian Hate protests, brought a social justice reckoning to Canada as well. People and companies were compelled to examine their part in an inequitable system, and the arts and culture sector faced the fact that we are also complicit.
This community is not shying away from our responsibility to make change. Working towards greater equity, diversity, and inclusion, and adopting anti-racist and anti-oppressive practices are top priorities in the coming months and years as we dig ourselves out of this pandemic. Funders are exploring their responsibilities and roles in pushing for change. The Rozsa Foundation has undertaken anti-racist training as a board and staff, and we are now working to identifying the inequitable and colonial biases in all of our work, and mindfully creating better ways to support, strengthen, and celebrate the Alberta arts community. “The Rozsa Foundation is committed to supporting work towards a more equitable arts sector, both within our own organization and in the broader arts community,” states Rozsa Foundation Executive Director Simon Mallett. “We’re asking organizations who are seeking funding about their work and commitments toward becoming more equitable and anti-racist organizations, and we are going to expect this work to be happening. We recognize that this is an ongoing process and that different organizations are at different points on their journeys, but feel that not acknowledging the need or not doing the work just isn’t acceptable for arts organizations anymore.” “We’re also talking to other funders around how we can measure progress and what standards we can develop to hold grantees to account,” Mallett continued. “Equity is already a part of our grant assessment process and will become an increasingly critical area of focus moving forward.”
Finding this training has become difficult with the increased demand. Since 2016, ComunityWise Resource Centre has been offering Anti-Racist Organizational Change (AROC) training, but has been inundated with requests for workshops from charities and non-profits. They are now working to further the process and build capacity with a newly created cooperative BLAC (Black Leadership Alliance Council) under the direction of Tyson Bankert. The Council consists of members from the AROC process, and CommunityWise has hired Tyson to lay the foundations of BLAC as an independent organization and to explore the next iteration of sharing AROC’s lessons to the broader non-profit community. Stay tuned for more information about this fabulous resource in Calgary.
As BLAC builds their capacity to continue their excellent and important work on a larger scale, there are several other organizations to whom the arts sector can turn to assist in their anti-racism training. Below is an alphabetical list of anti-racism and EDIA training opportunities.
Calgary Catholic Immigration Society, Cultural Diversity Services: “Enhancing Cultural Sensitivity and Developing Cultural Competence is a free online public session. The following topics are discussed: culture and diversity beyond ethnicity and religion, exploring and reflecting our cultural values, beliefs, stereotypes and biases, strategies, and paths to increase our skills and knowledge in developing cultural competence. The sessions currently are mostly online, and I customize the content according to specific organizational needs and fields of work. I would be pleased to present to arts organizations.” Sinela Jurkova, PhD, Presenter. For the next session, sign up before 12 noon on Monday April 20. Email your registration to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Calgary Foundation: “Calgary Foundation is committed to the work of anti-racism. As a community foundation, Calgary Foundation is committed to building a society where everyone feels they belong. This means we have a responsibility to learn and implement change across our organization, as well as to influence change more broadly within the Calgary community. Everyone’s journey towards a greater understanding of racial equity will look different – we hope the resources and experiences shared by the Calgary Foundation through these updates, will help you along that journey. If your organization or grassroots group is undertaking anti-racism work please explore Calgary Foundation’s granting programs for possible support, or contact them for assistance. Their website offers racial equity resources, an Indigenous ally tool-kit, and you can sign up for news of upcoming workshops and training, such as their Impacts of Intergenerational Trauma training.”
Canadian Equality Consulting: “We love working with non-profits and smaller organizations. We have found that there are very little affordable options for non-profits to successfully advance equity, diversity, and inclusion work. As we continue to grow, we always want to ensure that we continue to offer services and options that are more affordable for smaller organizations. Training costs vary according to the number of participants and the amount of customization that may be needed. We offer reduced pricing for non-profits and smaller organizations. However, training in general could start at $200 for a 1-1.5 hour session with a group of 20 or less.” Marcie Hawranik, Founder & President email@example.com
Centre for Race and Culture: “We offer training regarding equity, diversity and anti-racism in any sector, including the arts sector. We customize each workshop to each organization that requests a session based on a Needs Assessment Form that they fill out; it allows each organization to tell us about themselves and let us know what they are looking for in terms of training. When it comes to things like pricing, it will always depend on the details of each workshop as each training session is tailored and designed specifically to each group, meaning price will change depending on what each organization is looking for the resources and hours it would take us to plan and execute everything. We do offer rates to non-profits and charities.” Merna Rachid, Communications and Admin Assistant firstname.lastname@example.org
Creatives Empowered: We offer Strategic Planning to help cultural sector organizations become more equitable, diverse and inclusive – authentically – over the next 1 to 3 years. We all know change is needed, and long overdue. We also know this change cannot happen overnight. What’s required to create this empowering change is Accountability, an Informed Strategy and an Actionable Plan. Position your organization to intelligently respond to the need for EDI, rather than react to it. A prerequisite to creating true EDI is approaching it with the right mindset. We can help you develop this key understanding and integrate it into your Strategic Plan. We’ll customize this process for your organization, and conduct it virtually to ensure safe physical distancing measures. https://atelierculturati.com/contact/ Future Ancestor Services: “Future Ancestors Services is an Indigenous and Black-owned, youth-led professional services social enterprise that advances climate justice and equity with lenses of anti-racism and ancestral accountability. While centering decolonized and Indigenized practices, we support our clients and community in addressing systemic issues that disadvantage groups of people, our connections to land and others, and the well-being of Earth. Through an intergenerational team of professionals and advisors, we provide speaking, training, research and consulting services, and influencer and interview services to diverse clients. We specialize in accessible, anti-ageist, anti-racist, bilingual, and transformational service delivery, and are committed to further learning. Our Non-Profit & Youth-Led pricing is for clients who are either a registered non-profit, charity, or an organization where the majority of corporation administration is 30 years of age and younger (including for-profit).” email@example.com
Inclusion Factor: “We work with public and private organizations across North America to build diverse teams, equitable team dynamics, inclusive products, services, and workplaces. Training is only as practical as the leadership, processes, systems, initiatives, and structures to create spaces and behaviours that encourage equity and inclusion. We build award-winning solutions for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) assessments, training programs, workshops, e-learning tools and strategies to build inclusive spaces for all to innovate, work, live, and thrive.” Elise Ahenkorah, Founder and Inclusion Strategiest firstname.lastname@example.org
Indigenous Corporate Training: We help people work effectively with Indigenous Peoples through our training and free resources. “The ICT mission is to provide training to get everyone Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples® in their day-to-day jobs and lives. We do this by providing a safe training environment for learners to acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitude required to be effective. Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. (ICT) was founded in 2002 by Bob Joseph, a Gwawaenuk Nation member who is a certified Master Trainer, with a background in business administration and former associate professor at Royal Roads University. We believe that by sharing knowledge and information through our training courses, blog, and other free resources we can make the world a better place for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike.”
John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights: “We do training for the arts sector and also use the arts for human rights as you may know. We are actively delivering anti-oppression, anti-racism and building a rights-based organization. We can do one of workshops or build a series with the organization to help strengthen as we go and provide coaching and support. We do have a range of education and skill building sessions we can do around different rights areas including indigenous rights, disability rights, children's rights, youth rights, poverty rights. Our current pricing is $1500 per day for 2 facilitators. We can consider reduced rates for sure for non-profits and charities (in fact we just submitted a grant hoping we can do just that and keep the cost low for small and mid size nonprofits.” Renée Vaugeois, Executive Director email@example.com
Naheyawin: “Naheyawin offers sustainable, practical, Indigenous-based solutions for the improvement of diversity and inclusion in businesses, organizations and institutions through interactive workshop sessions, equity audits, and public engagement design and facilitation. We work alongside entrepreneurs, educational institutions, non-profits, and government helping them to become stewards of Treaty and realize their capacity to create conditions of abundance in their organizations, and beyond." firstname.lastname@example.org
True North EDI, Equity, Diversity, and Interdependence: Services include facilitated discussions, workshops, trainings, coaching, and support in the following areas: Organizational Development, (integrating DEI practices into the mission and core values of the organization, examining current organizational practices and policies and identifying areas that may be leading to inequitable outcomes, developing structures and systems to support the DEI process, uncovering potential blind spots in hiring, promotion, and retention practices), Staff Development (prompting thoughtful and proactive reflection and analysis of the ways in which privilege and bias manifest within and impact the professional community, developing best practices on how to facilitate conversations about race with others, deepening staff knowledge of the ways in which race and racism manifest within and outside of the organization), and Communications (examining current program offerings for indications of bias and/or exclusion, helping create program materials that are critically conscious and relevant to participating communities , refining and/or designing programs aimed at encouraging participation from specific community partners, and ensuring the thoughtful and sensitive creation/ distribution of external materials). email@example.com
This list is just the beginning of a larger list of EDIA training opportunities for the arts in Alberta. We will be adding it to our resources page on our website, and would love to hear of any programs or contacts you know of or may have worked with. Please send a quick note to me, Lisa Mackay, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your help, and your commitment to bring the arts forward to be truly accessible for all and inclusive of all peoples.