In early 2019, I brought together a group of community members to form the Seattle Cultural Accessibility Consortium, which connects arts and cultural organizations to information and resources to improve accessibility for people of all abilities. We have several workshops per year on accessibility-related topics and help organizations with accessibility planning.
White supremacy culture in professional spaces is toxic — to dismantle it, we must first be willing to name it!
Now, most workplaces, especially in the nonprofit sector, exhibit and practice white supremacy culture. It is a group of characteristics that, “are used as norms and standards without being pro-actively named or chosen by the group.” Characteristics such as perfectionism, quantity over quality, paternalism, and individualism uphold white supremacy culture in our work environments.
Recently, I was included in conversations about fundraising for an annual conference. My colleagues and I discussed sponsorship levels and benefits.
Subsequently, I was invited to a prospect call with a funder for a $5,000 sponsorship. On the call, my team answered all possible questions about why we do what we do, what every line item in our budget means, and how we can help amplify the funder’s brand visibility.
After an hour, the answer to the $5,000 sponsorship was a disappointing “no.”
“Well actually …”
This is how gaslighting always begins.
I was meeting with my ED to tell her that I was quitting my position at Mesa Arts Center. Even though I came prepared to explicitly detail the reasons I was leaving, I was still surprised she bothered to ask why. If she’d been half cognizant of the chaos erupting in our department over the past 22 months, it should have been obvious to her. She hadn’t earned my honesty, but I was honest with her anyway.
Recently, I was given a task by a mentor. My assignment was to ask others to describe me. (Super cringy exercise, but personal growth is uncomfortable, right?) Of all of the many ways I was described by old friends, co-workers, and acquaintances, no one — not a single soul — called me a quitter … But this is the third time that I have taken — and then quit — a fundraising job.
Radical transparency: Confronting nonprofit governance to truly eliminate discrimination and harassment
In Canada, the pre-pandemic nonprofit sector is a multi-billion-dollar-per-year sector that
employs 2 million Canadians. However, the pandemic has laid bare the number of
structural and systemic inequities within our sector. Knowing this, can we confidently
expect the nonprofit sector to lead on issues of racism and other deeply rooted forms of
Ori’ dance was an important part of life in ancient Tahiti and was often performed in religious ceremonies, social gatherings, and everyday life. It was used by the Tahitian people to pass down traditions to younger generations so that they can tell the stories of their ancestors. Each individual dance tells a story through hip movements and hand motions.
As a child, I was taught in school that slavery ended in 1865, all thanks to the benevolence and heroism of President Abraham Lincoln. After that, there was some unrest in the 1960s, and Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Fortunately, slavery is now a relic of the past. Now, we know so much better, and every February is Black History Month.
Like most white children who were indoctrinated with this false history, I accepted that I was innocent, and that this history had nothing to do with me.
To imagine new worlds, we need words that reflect our current one. Audre Lorde tells us, “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house,” and I think this is why there is such a proliferation of new language on the left — we are describing forces we have purposefully been given no words to describe — new words to talk about gender, race, and identity — new words to talk about a diversity of internal experiences — new words to talk about the oppressive ways society is organized.