Buddies Commitment to Organizational Review

June 21, 2020

We want to let our community know that Buddies board and senior leadership are currently in the process of hiring an outside, BIPOC-led consulting group to take us through a comprehensive organizational review. Toward Buddies ongoing project of queer liberation, this review will include updating our equity hiring practices and frameworks, leadership succession planning at all levels (board and staff), and addressing anti-Black racism, racism, reconciliation and meaningful inclusion at all levels of our organization. 

In our effort to be as transparent and accountable as possible to our stakeholders, we will announce more details of this process (which will actively include community consultation) as soon as we are able to do so, by or before July 31, 2020.  Once we have more information to share, we will be offering regular updates and progress reports to the community. 

We look forward to this opportunity for organizational reflection, growth and transformation.

 

June 13, 2020
Posted to Facebook

In light of the community calls to action that have arisen over the last few weeks, we are pausing most of our Pride programming at this time to reflect and take action on structural racism within our organization.

Buddies is committed to undertaking a multi-phase, community-engaged process that addresses racism, anti-Blackness, and equity within our institution. We will be publicly announcing our board and organization plans and commitments this coming week.

While we will be paying all Pride-contracted artists their complete fees regardless, we are taking this step the step of reducing our Pride activity in order to focus on the important work upon us and ahead of us; also importantly, at this time we wish to allow artists the freedom to make their own decisions about their association with Buddies, without concern of financial penalty.

 

June 6, 2020
Posted to Facebook

We recognize this is a time of immense pain and hurt, as we face the violent realities of anti-Black racism and police brutality, and we know this hurt is disproportionately affecting QTBIPOC communities.

Last week some serious allegations, against an artist contractor who has worked for Buddies in the past, were brought to our attention. We are, and have been listening. We take these matters very seriously.

The situation we’ve been made aware of involves allegations of abuse within the intimate relationship between two artists who, at different times in the past, have each been contracted by Buddies. While as an arts institution we cannot involve ourselves in the personal and intimate relationships of former contractors, we want to make clear that Buddies does not, and will not in the future, knowingly work with anyone who is the subject of serious allegations that violate our core principles.

We believe survivors.

We stand unequivocally against domestic and intimate partner violence. We recognize and acknowledge how power, abuse and coercion are often bound up with, and compounded by, systemic discrimination and racism. This can particularly impact both personal and professional relationships inside of our theatre industry and queer communities. We recognize these are real and systemic issues, too often silenced, unrecognized or not spoken about inside of our queer communities. These conversations also point to gaps and limitations that we have as a queer arts organization, but that also broadly exist within our theatre industry, that specifically relate to anti-Blackness, accountability, and community.

We want to acknowledge the women and femmes of colour from the community who initially voiced these concerns, as well as those who brought them to our attention, for their bravery in coming forward with their accounts and for their labour in helping to frame these conversations.

As a queer, equity-seeking theatre company, we recognize that racial justice and decolonization cannot be separated from Buddies’ mandate of queer liberation. We acknowledge and stand against anti- Black racism and the systemic state violence disproportionately enacted on Black, Brown and Indigenous bodies and lives. We commit ourselves to working together in the fight to end racism and white supremacy. We know we have lots of work and learning to do – especially in an organization with white people in leadership and directorial roles — to embody these commitments. We are listening, we are learning. We will continue to examine and review our programming, policies, strategies, and actions, and to consult with our communities, with the goal of creating a Buddies that is safer, more inclusive, and of service to our community.

We hope this statement will be the start of a conversation. We commit to creating a forum for gathering the community, and we will announce those plans publicly as soon as we are able. In the meantime, if you would like to get in touch, please e-mail board@buddiesinbadtimes.com.

Signed,

Evalyn Parry, Artistic Director, on behalf of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

Shawn Daudlin, Managing Director, on behalf of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

Jamie Slater, Chair of the Board of Directors of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

Additionally, here are some resources for survivors:
The Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape (https://trccmwar.ca/)
Barbara Schlifer Commemorative Clinic (https://schliferclinic.com/)
Gerstein Crisis Centre (http://gersteincentre.org/)

Note: some of the language of this post was updated on June 16, 2020.

 

June 1, 2020

In Solidarity
Posted on our website and crosspost to Facebook

Today, as we enter into Pride month, we launch our Queer Pride Festival.

At the same time, protests demanding justice for Black folx who have been murdered by police are being held across Canada and the United States.

At the same time, Indigenous folx have been murdered by police.

At the same time, a global pandemic is disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable of our communities. Specifically, racialized communities, elders, and lower-income households.

As a queer arts organization, as a queer community, we want to acknowledge our role in opposing, critiquing, and dismantling dominant power structures that allow for the persistence of racism.

We want to acknowledge the history of activism and labour that has been done by Black queer and trans communities; and to acknowledge the continued labour by these communities, from which we directly benefit.

We want to acknowledge the action we can take as individuals, as an organization, as a community, to centre Black and Indigenous voices. To listen. To learn from what is being shared. To ask what is needed. And to act.

Here is a link to resources for further education, resources for anti-racism practices and learning, and where to donate if you can:
https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/

Here is a link to protesting and donation information and resources to contact your government officials:
https://docs.google.com/…/1l0TGDdHJIO6FGkKNWBBXINUmfGS…/edit

This month as we celebrate Pride and our queer communities, we want to constantly remember that our queer is built on a history of activism. Our queer is allied with struggles for justice and the right to exist. Our queer is a fuck you, our queer is a riot, our queer is a raised fist. Our queer is the Black trans woman of colour who threw the first brick.

Our queer is a dream for a better world.

And in saying this, we acknowledge that anti-racism requires ongoing work and thought, and will continue to share resources, actions, etc, as we listen, reflect, and learn, as both as an institution and as a collection of individual voices:
https://buddiesinbadtimes.com/in-solidarity/

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