We ask you to join the artists of Newfound land and Labrador in challenging systems of oppression and systemic racism that endanger BIPOC community members. We acknowledge Ktaqmkuk as the ancestral homelands of the Beothuk and Mi’kmaq, and Labrador as the ancestral homelands of the Innu of Nitassinan, Inuit of Nunatsiavut and Inuit of NunatuKavut.
Black communities face continual police-sanctioned violence and we must take action. Collectively, we need to push towards meaningful change within our organizations to both combat these realities and support anti-racism initiatives, including those that work against anti-Black racism .
Our organizations adamantly commit to the following:
● Decolonize systems of oppression through solidarity practices. We will ensure we have structures of accountability in place within our own communities. We refuse to prioritize or maintain cultures of white privilege that reinforce inequity and jeopardize human safety and freedoms in NL and beyond.
● Meaningful and tangible inclusion that addresses exclusionary economic policies impacting BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) individuals.
● Acknowledging and addressing existing social constructs that perpetuate racist worldviews that normalize inequality and police brutality. Ideologies of whiteness as default or norm contribute to the dehumanization of BIPOC. We refuse to accept this status quo as it continually puts community members in danger and normalizes police violence on our streets.
● Further increasing diverse publication, production and programming through our respective fields while challenging ownership and appropriation of voice narratives, ventures, and organizations.
● Using our platforms to dedicate space and uplift BIPOC artists and their stories.
● Leveraging our resources to shift focus on and provide new professional, paid, and equitable opportunities for BIPOC artists throughout our province.
Black Lives Matter. Ending all forms of racism and violence against Indigenous, Asian, Migrant and Newcomer, Muslim, Latinx people and communites matters. Ending Patriarchy, Islamophobia, Transphobia, Anti-Semitism, Ableism, and Sanism Matters.
These commitments cannot be realized alone. We need to dismantle white privilege, re-learn behaviour, re-imagine systems, and foster critical dialogue with BIPOC communities. We will hold ourselves and our institutions accountable in consultation with BIPOC communities. We will ensure that these actions are effectively implemented and maintained within our organizations.
Based on the above statements, we have created a list of demands and action plan:
1. We call on all levels of government to condemn police brutality targeting BIPOC communities and commit to work towards decolonizing and dismantling systemic racism and white supremacy embedded within our society.
2. We call on governmental departments, agencies, organizations and institutions of all sizes to do the same. We encourage others to re-publish this statement and/or add their organization to the list of supporters.
3. We commit and call on others to join us in holding anti-oppression workshops and discussions focusing on decolonization and combating racism within our organizations, as well as offer free anti-oppression workshops that are open and accessible to the community.
We recognize that this is an ongoing process and are committed to furthering our knowledge, practicing accountability, and taking necessary actions in dismantling white supremacy.
Signed in solidarity,
The following creative sector organizations of Newfoundland and Labrador:
Eastern Edge Gallery
St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival
Business and the Arts NL
Neighbourhood Dance Works
Union House Arts
Stephenville Theatre Festival
Persistence Theatre Company
St. John’s Storytelling Festival
St. Michael’s Printshop
The Resource Centre for the Arts (LSPU Hall)
The Nickel Independent Film Festival
The Wonderbolt Productions
Writers’ Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador
Writers at Woody Point
Newfoundland and Labrador Sound Symposium
Visual Artists of Newfoundland and Labrador
Association of Professional Theatre of
Newfoundland and Labrador
Best Kind Productions
Winterset in Summer Literary Festival
The Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Arts Society
First Light St. John’s Friendship Centre Inc.