We Cannot Remain Silent


Lakeshore Arts’ leadership release statement on Anti-Black racism

Toronto, ON (June 17, 2020) – We cannot remain silent. We cannot claim neutrality. Lakeshore Arts rejects anti-Black racism and supports the call for justice for lives lost and harmed through systemic racism and white supremacy across our country and in our communities. 

As leaders dedicated to using the arts to make social change we have to speak up against racism and violence. We recognize we have much work to do and we are committed to becoming better allies. 

How do we plan on doing this?

  • We will commit to identifying and dismantling white supremacy culture in our workplace; examining how our norms, standards, policies and practices centre white people’s ideas, attitudes, beliefs, work and communication styles and create strategies to uproot these biases and create an anti-oppressive, intersectional workplace. We will seek external expertise from Black, Indigenous and racialized leaders when required and compensate them equitably. 
  • We commit to establishing and clearly communicating transparent procedures to address complaints of harassment and discrimination within our organization, including complaints involving our staff, board, artists, partners and program participants.
  • We commit to embedding an anti-racism and anti-oppression lens into recruitment and hiring of both staff and Board members, identifying any discriminatory organizational practices and potential barriers for racialized candidates such as use of personal networks to fill vacancies, informal decision making processes and inflated or unnecessary job requirements (including overemphasis on paid experience and formal education). We will work to ensure that racialized people attain leadership positions in our organization not only part time, temporary or entry level positions.
  • We will continue to commit to fostering a flexible work environment that takes seriously the responsibility to meet the diverse needs of our employees and create conditions for them to succeed, providing accommodation for religious observance, care for dependants, mental health and other employee needs.
  • We will continue to commit to pay transparency, understanding its role in addressing systemic discrimination and wage inequity. We will publish pay rates in our job postings, prohibit inquiring into a job applicant’s previous compensation and prohibit reprisal against employees discussing pay.
  • We will commit time and resources to the regular anti-racism and anti-oppression training for our staff and board, recognizing that learning and unlearning are ongoing processes.
  • We will use our social media platforms to support the Black Lives Matter movement and to champion social equity and anti-racism practices, encouraging others in our sector to do the same. 
  • We commit to re-examining our strategic plan and making amendments to explicitly integrate equity and anti-racism into the goals and values that guide our operations, programs and partnerships.
  • We will continue to work with and give priority to talented Black artists, amplifying their voices, creativity and experiences and compensating them equitably. We commit to seeking out and hiring Black, Indigenous and artists of colour and developing programs that are safe, welcoming and representative of the different communities in our catchment. This includes creating spaces and programs exclusively for Black, Indigenous or racialized people. 
  • We commit to developing and evaluating our projects and programs through an equity lens, examining their motivations, assumptions, aesthetics, structures, power dynamics, accessibility and participation.  

It is our intention to continue to uphold this plan long after it is no longer trending; over the next year we will use these public commitments as a metric to hold ourselves accountable.