Arts Council of New Westminster: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Our Commitment to Change

Dear members, 

Recent world events have pushed racial and socioeconomic injustices to the forefront of our attention, and we have a responsibility to address these topics in our community. As such, we are taking a clear position in stating that the ACNW unequivocally denounces racism in all capacities. The ACNW supports initiatives that shed light on police brutality, racial discrimination, microaggressions and macroaggressions facing Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) artists. 

We must also acknowledge the historic lack of artistic opportunities available to BIPOC artists, barriers of accessibility/engagement in the arts and the institutional systematic racism that still manifests itself today.

Like many organizations who have shared reflections during this time of reckoning, we take ownership of the fact that our past efforts in support of racial justice have not been deep enough, sustained enough, or accountable enough. We have been complicit with the systems that cause harm to minoritized and racialized communities. We want and need to do better. 

Our staff and board are committed to the following actions to increase equity, diversity and inclusion in our programs, outreach and development projects:

  • Identifying the ACNW’s contributions to oppressive structures and practices, whether inside or out of the council, and creating a plan to dismantle them. 
  • Continuing our own personal and organizational education about policies and actions that foster diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Establishing actionable policy for matters of EDI that will be informed by and shared with the membership, to be reviewed annually.
  • Commiting time and resources to develop more diverse leadership on our board.

This is the start of a long-term journey and true, positive change cannot be achieved overnight. We believe it is important that we communicate our intentions to develop safer and equitable opportunities for members of our community who identify as Indigenous, Black, Persons of Colour, non-white, differently-abled, of any gender, of any sexuality, and as members of any minoritized or marginalized community. We also recognize that merely stating the intention is not enough. Our commitment to you is to develop, before the end of 2021, a clear anti-racist and anti-oppressive strategy for the ACNW. 

Whether a current or past member, an artist, spectator, audience member, or another member of the community, your experiences with the ACNW can help us develop this strategy. We acknowledge that sharing experiences will require different emotional labour for different people and that there are power imbalances, class differences, economic circumstances, and other influences on participating in this process with us. We are open and grateful for any opportunity to listen to you. 

Please send your comments to info@acnw.ca or call us at (604) 525-3244. 

In solidarity,

ACNW Board and Staff

Bob Crockett – President
Ruby Campbell- Vice President
Andrew Koltek – Treasurer
David Vivian – Secretary
Rose Anza-Burgess – Director
Leah Chang – Director
Simrit Kainth – Director
Stephen O’Shea – Executive Director
Laura Grady – Program Manager

Please note: Additional ACNW Board Members have recently joined the Board, as of December 2020, and have not yet been a part of these conversations. For this reason, we have chosen not to add their names to this statement at this time. We look forward to their upcoming involvement.