My journey to accessibility in the arts started more than 20 years ago, when I first moved to Seattle from the East Coast. While in Los Angeles on vacation, I went to see “Titanic,” which had just come out in movie theaters. For the first time, I used a captioning device that fit into the cup holder of my seat, allowing me to read the words being spoken onscreen. It was exhilarating: I was finally able to fully understand the dialogue on the big screen.
By Michelle Shireen Muri
Guest Christina Shimizu, a co-founder of Community-Centric Fundraising, briefly explores the relatively recent history of how these systems came to be, why they are built on deep injustices and how philanthropy and nonprofits are actually a political and economic system.
Recently, I had a moment in a team meeting that gave me pause. We were discussing upcoming fundraising efforts and our messaging … a seasoned fundraiser on the team noted that we must absolutely stop using language like “folx” in our fundraising materials because funders do not know what this language means.
I was born a poor Black child and, according to my mama, “a picky eater.”
I loved sweets though, anything with the right amount of high fructose corn syrup really. I was also highly suspicious of any food that even vaguely resembled a vegetable. If it wasn’t smothered in ranch, why would I eat it?
By now, most, if not all of us, are aware of the many Karens of the world. If you are unsure about your neighborhood Karen she is the lady who is the first person to insert herself in a situation that has nothing to do with her. She can be seen calling the manager — (cue the infamous Karen meme). We have seen Karens show up in many spaces and continue to be problematic.
When I first read about community-centric fundraising via Vu Le’s Nonprofit AF blog, a lightbulb went off in my head. Everything that felt icky to me about donor-centric practices was articulated. Once I started seeing more articles like this, I knew I was on the right track with shifting the narrative at my own organizations.
So, why does your development planning suck?
A group of BIPOC* fundraisers and nonprofit professionals began a collaboration to build a movement for racial and economic justice, sharing dreams of a world beyond capitalism and the nonprofit industrial complex. To gauge perceptions of nonprofit fundraising, this group distributed a survey in May 2019. Intended to highlight the thoughts and experiences of fundraisers and presented through a series of infographics, here are some findings from over 2,000 fundraisers and nonprofit professionals surveyed.
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.
From tokenism to using community as unpaid consultants, from structural oppression to…more gatekeeping, and identity-based privilege, former City Councilman turned DEI consultant, Chuck Warpehoski, talks with Michelle about the common and -tired- ways in which institutions perform or attempt to work with the community and common pitfalls.