On June 4, 2020 a group of concerned volunteers brought forward a letter outlining systemic barriers within The ArQuives related to racism and oppression (see Concerned Volunteer Letter). Due to lingering concerns about the relationship between political advocacy and our charitable status, the Board acknowledges that we have been hesitant in responding to recent issues such as:
- Pride Toronto’s handling of the Black Lives Matters demands of Pride Toronto (2016)
- Toronto Reference Library’s refusal to cancel the transphobic Meghan Murphy talk (2018)
- And most recently the Black Lives Matters protest (2020) We also acknowledge that The ArQuives needs to do more to address structural inequalities within our organization, particularly regarding anti-Black racism.
Moving forward, we are committed to making necessary changes to address these concerns. The Board supports the ED in her leadership, especially her efforts to communicate the concerns of volunteers, staff, and community members to the Board. We’ve consulted with legal counsel and peer organizations and have learned we have much greater latitude in taking public positions than has previously been the case, and we commit to being more proactive and timely regarding requests for statements of solidarity in the future. The Board recently discussed anti-racism action items from the concerned community members and have committed to completing an 18-point action plan in a timely manner (See Board Anti-Racism Action Plan). The action plan includes committing to making a statement about historical inequities at The ArQuives which will be completed by September 30; instituting a third-party Anti-Racist training for all Board members, staff, and volunteers; and creating policies and systems that will streamline communication(s) within The ArQuives.
We welcome your participation and engagement in making our organization a more welcoming and inclusive space for all members of the LGBTQ2+ community, in particular Black and other racialized queer, trans, and non-binary people.Should you have any concern or questions, please do not hesitate to bring forward your concerns to Marcos Persaud: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marcos Persaud, Vice President