accountability update to anti-racism work

In the ten months since publishing our statement of commitment to anti-racism, Access has been continuing this work as a Board and Staff, as well as undertaking our own individual learning. We remain committed to this work, and consider this an ongoing process to be mobilized with increased urgency. We acknowledge that our efforts are informed by the labour of BIPOC communities.

Updates on our commitments include:

  • with new board members in place, we will undergo anti-oppression training in May of 2021, and will continue to budget for ongoing learning. In the fall, staff and some board members undertook de-escalation training in hopes that it would educate and empower us to resolve conflicts without police presence; 
  • we've passed an organizational Code of Conduct (including a public Safer Spaces Statement) which identifies oppressive structures, and will further develop this policy to reflect what we learn in our anti-oppression training;
  • we continue to work to disrupt the dominant whiteness of our Board, and will continue to prioritize Black, Indigenous, and racialized applicants to the board moving forward. One of our priorities in the training we undertake is to focus on removing barriers to create a governance space that is inviting and trustworthy, including the consideration of alternative governance structures; 
  • we continue to assess our HR policies to ensure full participation and fair practice. We compensate all staff positions (including students) at or above a Living Wage. In 2021 we’ll budget for payment for all consultation, including juries. We are in the process of evaluating tuition support for student positions, membership/voting fee structures, and developing a parental policy; 
  • in 2020 we contributed to SEARA Fund*, and will budget in future to make contributions (cash and in kind) to arts organizations working toward equity and racial justice in the arts; 
  • we continue to interrogate our program history and keep this at the forefront as we develop our future programs. We participated in an equity consultation through our partnership with Arts Assembly in order to deliver the Remote Research Residency, which prioritizes applications from artists who self-identify as Queer/LGBTQIA2S+, Black, Indigenous, racialized, disabled, and neurodivergent; 
  • We are working with our new staff person to develop translations and printed matter to better welcome our Chinatown neighbours into our space and programs. Given the rise of anti-Asian racism throughout Canada since the start of the pandemic, we will prioritize these acts of connection wherever possible as we re-open to the public in Chinatown; 
  • The board now includes a check-in/discussion at each meeting to continue our reflexive work in anti-racism. We will release another update in the fall.

*SEARA (Sector Equity for Anti-Racism in the Arts) is working to address systemic barriers experienced by Black, Indigenous and racialized Artists through a low barrier funding application launched in 2021.

We encourage our followers 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
SEARA

In solidarity the victims of heinous misogyny and anti-Asian racism hate crimes in Atlanta, please follow and consider donating to Swan Vancouver for their important work supporting im/migrant sex workers locally, Centre A for foregrounding contemporary Asian art, and Yarrow Society for their support of Asian seniors in Vancouver.

Ongoing RCMP violations to Indigenous rights mean support is still needed for 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.