Our Organizational Change Journey starts within our own organization as we work on EDIA, AROC and 35//50 BIPOC best practices.
WPTS mandate is to use the power of puppetry to impact positive social change. Positive social change can start within our own organization as we work on organizational transformation by undertaking Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (EDIA) training, implementing Anti-Racist and Anti-Oppressive Organizational Change (AROC) best practices as well as fulfilling our commitment to the 35//50 Initiative for BIPOC representation.
To date, we have coordinated in-services for our board and staff, gathered resources and personal calls to actions, and written two guiding policies, one on Diversity and Inclusion and the other on Human Resource. We start to understand our biases and lack of perceptions as individuals and as an organization and where we can improve. We recognize it will take courage, vulnerability and commitment to do the deep work necessary to co-create the world we wish to see for all.
As Community Wise resources state: “Organizational change is long-term work, and it is internal work. It’s different from programming and it can be difficult to measure progress. There’s no endpoint, especially with anti-racism work. It’s constant, ongoing.”
Our next steps include:
- Ensure we are up to date on protocols, language and that our programming is relevant, sensitive, and reflective of the populations we serve.
- Be specific in practices and policies that support diversity, inclusion and equity and how we welcome persons of any race, creed, colour, age, sex, religion or national origin to be part of our organization and programs.
- Work with community partners to establish practical ways to implement EDIA best practice within programming and operations starting with HR and the recruitment of volunteers, staff and contractors.
- Work on a comprehensive succession plan for roles within our organization to encourage BIPOC leaders to potentially fill these positions.
- The 35//50 initiative provides a benchmark of 35% BIPOC and 50% women and gender minorities in paid, professional positions. We will work to ensure that we meet or exceed the 35//50 minimum representation, as positions become available.
- In the creation of our theatre for young audiences, while we refer to current pedagogy on child development, we will purposefully include a more inclusive worldview, alongside our hallmark mental health and wellness themes. This means we will purposefully seek out performance themes that include BIPOC stories and artists.
- We are aware of the influence that the arts can have on young people’s development and are committed to create a safe space for conversation, questions and advocacy.
In developing and facilitating these learning experiences, for children and youth, including those in Gay-Straight-Alliance (GSA) clubs, we will work to include BIPOC artists, stories, and power.
- In all our programming, performances, workshops, conferences, festivals, and professional development, we will work to ensure and advocate for, equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility for all our participants.This means that we will, to the best of our abilities:
- Make our international calls for presenters reflective of cultural traditions and practices.
- Provide accommodations for differently-abled persons, seniors with dementia, marginalized and racialized persons.
- Offer technical support for our online delivery and solutions for persons having difficulty with internet access.
- We understand that we need to work on an Anti-Harassment policy to include a more specific and nuanced approach to Anti-Racism.
- We will develop robust assessment tools to measure our impact and efficacy in this work and we will publicly report annually on the results of our initiatives.
We are committed to moving forward purposefully and sustainably to support lasting change in our community.
We are grateful to have received funding through the Multiculturalism, Indigenous and Inclusion Grant (MIIG) Program from the department of Alberta Culture and Status of Women.