We Stand With Black Lives Matter

The International Festival of Arts & Ideas stands with Black Lives Matter and with countless citizens in our own city and across the country who are outraged by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and who exercise their right to protest the systemic racism at the root of police violence. Racial justice is imperative. Black lives matter at all times. Police violence is unacceptable and silence in the face of injustice is intolerable.

The Festival stands in solidarity with Black and Brown communities who are targeted and abused by unjust systems of oppression.

The Festival stands in solidarity with the communities, artists, and speakers with whom we collaborate, and we pledge that our support extends beyond our performance dates. We will do everything we can to help dismantle systematic racism, and we raise our voices with those in our community who are already engaged in this vital work. 

We see you. We are with you. We commit to working alongside you to create transformative change in New Haven.

En Español

El Festival Internacional de Arte e Ideas se une al movimiento Black Lives Matter y a un sinnúmero de personas en nuestra propia ciudad y a lo largo del país, en profunda indiganción por el asesinato de George Floyd, Breonna Taylor y Ahmaud Arbery, y en ejercicio de nuestro derecho a la protesta en contra de la violencia y el racismo sitemáticos por parte de la policía. La justicia racial es imperativa. Las vidas negras importan siempre. La violencia policial es inaceptable, y el silencio frente a la injusticia resulta intolerable.

El Festival se solidariza con las comunidades negras y de color, quienes son sujeto de abuso por parte de un sistema injusto y opresor.

Asimismo el Festival se solidariza con las comunidades, artistas y conferencistas con quienes trabajamos en colaboración. Nuestro compromiso con todxs ellxs se extiende más allá de las fechas de sus respectivas presentaciones. Como Festival haremos todo lo que esté a nuestro alcance para terminar con el racismo sistemático, y unimos nuestras voces a la de quienes en nuestra comunidad se han comprometido con esta lucha.

Podemos verte. Estamos contigo. Nos comprometemos a trabajar junto a ti por un cambio transformativo en New Haven.

Our Commitments

The International Festival of Arts & Ideas recognizes that solidarity is more than just words, and in our commitment to anti-racism we pledge to take action to decenter white voices and dismantle white supremacy. The following are the first steps we commit to taking in this ongoing work. Above all, we pledge to acknowledge what we do not yet know and to continue learning. We will develop a channel of direct communication with our communities to ensure that we are held accountable in this vital work. 

The International Festival of Arts & Ideas commits to:

  • Actively work to reflect the diverse cultural identities of the New Haven community in staff, leadership, and board. We will:
    • Address unconscious bias in recruitment and hiring processes and practices: review position descriptions and qualifications; engage in ongoing hiring manager training; review process for publicizing job positions; seek out and value the skills and life experiences of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color applicants with explicit language:
      • ie: “We believe that corporations’ bad behavior disproportionately hurts Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and we believe that these communities must be centered in the work we do. We strongly encourage applications from people with these identities or who are members of other marginalized communities.”
    • Do our part in building a more just arts ecosystem by establishing training and mentorship opportunities for--as well as led by--New Haven Black, Indigenous, and People of Color artists and administrators to assist in developing and recognizing talent.
    • Maintain and strengthen our relationships with our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Fellows to help build a talent pipeline; beyond the Fellowship program, weave in opportunities and action items.
    • Examine board governance and transparency about their work and decision-making and develop communication channels that run both ways between board and staff.
  • Ensure that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color on the Festival’s staff, leadership, and board feel welcome and valued, and retain a diverse staff. We will:
    • Review onboarding and training practices.
    • Strengthen our channels for staff to express concerns and periodically review those channels together. Take the initiative to reach out to staff and check in on their well-being and job satisfaction.
    • Examine our work practice norms: recognize when time crunches erode established processes; recognize when busyness dehumanizes our colleagues; address the continued sense of urgency that makes it difficult to take time to be inclusive, encourage democratic and/or thoughtful decision-making, to think long-term, and to consider consequences.
  • Develop programming that reflects our community, advances important conversations, and speaks out against discrimination. We will:
    • Ensure that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color have programming power and invite community participation in building those programs.
    • Use our platform to reflect on major issues not only in our community, but in the world.
    • Ensure diversity not just in representation upon the stage, but with programming that reflects the issues that are important to the communities represented there. 
    • Focus not only on pain points and traumatic issues, but also reflect on and celebrate the positive by lifting up authentic culture and joy. 
    • Seek out good work from throughout the world that speaks to—and is reflective of—the diversity of our community, expands our culture, and makes us more accepting of the differences in all of us. 
  • Publicize and be transparent about artistic opportunities and fee structures for local artists. Intentionally recruit local artists from all neighborhoods and communities. Explicitly commit to collaboration as a way to de-center hierarchy/share power and build more equity. 
  • Continue our process of reflection and action beyond this moment, to move forward with concrete steps for undoing the structural systems of racism. We will:
    • Continue and expand bias training opportunities and expectations of all staff with follow-up anti-racism actions and workshops. 
    • Start these conversations in the room where the power is.
    • Set measurable goals with a timetable; collecting and holding ourselves to real outcomes, not just outputs.
    • Establish a staff/board racial equity committee in addition to other organization-wide practices.
    • Integrate this work into the organizational structure through documents--including a new strategic plan--that are permanent to the organization.