Dear CIG Community,
Systemic racism and violence against Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour exists across Canada, the US, and the world. Racism is embedded in our arts communities and we hear the voices in the wider improv community who are speaking out about the racism they experience on stages, at events, and in organizations. This is not the first time these voices have spoken about injustice. This is, however, the first time we at the Canadian Improv Games have taken the time to truly reflect and learn about our complicities in these systems.
We are sorry it has taken us so long to act, and to speak up. Silence is not neutral; it’s an acceptance of the status quo. We are sorry for our part in perpetuating racist systems. We are sorry that we don’t yet have proper systems in place to make sure the spaces we create for our community are safe for everyone to work and play in. We see our Whiteness and our privilege. We will keep learning. We will listen. We will take action. We will be accountable.
Great improv requires vulnerability, openness, and presence. To be vulnerable, however, requires a safe space and we have not done enough to ensure that all the people who make the Games and our improv community so special, have that space – space to play and be fully themselves – and have safe and accountable mechanisms to disclose if something’s not right.
The Canadian Improv Games commits to working quickly and thoroughly to understand our blind spots, our discriminatory history and inaccessible systems, and take action. We will work together with our communities to design and deliver programming to those who are excluded by the current system so that more diverse young voices are amplified. We have already begun this important and urgent work:
- Effective June 10, 2020 we have created an Ombudsperson position, separate from the Board and Staff, to build, create and sustain independent and impartial processes for disclosures and discussion.
- We have opened up new positions on the Board to welcome diverse and traditionally underrepresented voices, and make those voices part of our core governance and leadership.
- We will begin a period of surveying and community conversations imminently, as the first step in creating a new Strategic Plan for the organisation. We will ensure that marginalised voices are included and heard during this process and we will engage a multitude of people and resources to help us advance our mission.
Improv teaches communication, leadership, teamwork and listening. We believe these attributes are especially vital right now, for creating a world with empathetic, kind, effective leaders. We, the Board and staff of the Canadian Improv Games, will listen more and take action, and we thank you for helping us move this work and important transformation forward together.
Chair of the Board of Directors, on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Improv Games