The Board and Staff of Access Gallery wish to unequivocally state our support for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and our solidarity with those demanding justice for Black and Indigenous lives lost to police violence and brutality.
Statistics and historic data have long been available chronicling the violent colonial histories of police and RCMP in Canada. It is through the compliance of mostly white settlers sheltered by systemic white supremacy that this cycle of violence has been allowed to continue.
Institutional models like artist-run centres are not free from compliance with colonial structures and systemic racism. Non-profits, like Access Gallery, rely on funding structures steeped in systemic inequities, and are at risk of perpetuating structural racism through board recruitment and hiring processes, governance and policy development, programming decisions, and more. Drawing on educational structures that perpetuate these same biases further narrows access to our organizations. Dismantling these structures demands anti-racist action.
Access is committed to the interrogation of our structure, policies, and processes, beginning with humility, self-reflexion, education, and the implementation of changes where needed. We consider this an ongoing process to be undertaken with increased urgency, and acknowledge that our efforts are informed by the labour of BIPOC communities.
We wish to express our commitment to lift and support individual artists and arts organizations who have been ignored, passed over, or harmed by the conditions of white supremacy. We will work to:
- recognize where we have failed and where we have gaps in knowledge by undergoing anti-oppression training in 2020, and budgeting for ongoing learning;
- uphold and further develop our Code of Conduct and Safer Spaces Statement within an anti-oppressive framework to ensure those who enter our space are protected and those who would cause harm are held accountable;
- ensure that our structures, programs, and behaviours reflect these values, in order to attract and retain a diverse board, staff, and membership;
- disrupt the dominant whiteness of our Board—the training we undertake will focus on removing barriers to create a governance space that is inviting and trustworthy in order to shift this power balance without tokenizing;
- enable full participation by compensating all staff positions at or above a Living Wage, working towards fair payment for all consultation, including juries, and evaluating membership/voting fee structures;
- reflect on our past program and address inequity through our curatorial decisions, programming structures, and partnerships such as PLOT.
We have an intimate knowledge of how community supported fundraising efforts affect the possibility and success of programming in Vancouver, and we encourage our members to donate and offer their ongoing support to the following local organizations to ensure their continued success:
Black Lives Matter Vancouver
Black Arts Vancouver
Hogan's Alley Society
In light of the ongoing RCMP violations to Indigenous rights, please also consider donating to the Unist'ot'en Camp.
With gratitude as guests, Access is located on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.
Access additionally recognizes its location in Vancouver’s Chinatown, an area for the gathering of predominantly Cantonese-speaking Chinese labourers, settlers, and businesses since the nineteenth century. Our gallery borders the site of Hogan’s Alley, an important home to Vancouver’s Black population until their forced displacement through the construction of the Georgia viaduct fifty years ago.