WSLR+Fogartyville formed an Anti-Racism Task Force in January 2021 to address issues of inclusion, diversity, equity and access both on the airwaves and at our community space.
BACKGROUND FOR RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE ANTI-RACISM TASK FORCE
“Serving the American public in all of its diversity is an important part of the mission of public media articulated in the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. But the overwhelming consensus now is that the system has failed to live its values, that structural racism plagues our institutions and that diversity, equity and inclusion of people of color in leadership roles and in our audiences must be our top priority. How must public media change in order to look and sound more like the America we are supposed to reflect and serve?” (From Current.org – News for People in Public Media)
Artist Nina Chanel Abney wrote a recent Instagram post : “Care for Black life does not happen just because you rush to communicate it in a mural or on a tote bag. It is not just the inclusion of people of color as a viable consumer market or in your advertising campaigns. Care for vulnerable populations is a life-long commitment, an orientation toward justice that must be consistently revisited and renewed. What will your care for Black life look like 6 months from now? One year from now? In a decade?”
How do we institutionalize our commitment to racial justice and equity at WSLR+Fogartyville?
First we commit to doing the work. All of us must educate ourselves about how white dominant culture negatively impacts our organization and how systemic inequities create barriers to access and participation for people of color in our community.
Part of dismantling racism includes learning that organizations often display, and are damaged by, characteristics of white supremacy culture. This occurs even when the members may not be aware that certain organizational traits stem from white supremacy. These characteristics, such as paternalism, either/or thinking, fear of open conflict, and others are damaging to the organization as a whole, and to both its members of color and white members. Prior to formulating these recommendations, the Task Force read and discussed the document titled ‘White Supremacy Culture’ which is taken from “Dismantling Racism: A Workbook for Social Change Groups” by Kenneth Jones and Tema Olma, ChangeWork, 2001. This document discusses particular traits of white dominant culture that may be holding us back, and provides antidotes that open us up to alternative ways of doing things. Reading the “Characteristics of White Supremacy” document in advance is strongly recommended – as is referring to it while reviewing these recommendations.
We know there is no quick fix to addressing the issue of racism – it is a life-time commitment. It is a commitment that a justice-centered organization must embrace. We look forward to continuing the journey with all of you.
WSLR Anti-Racism and Cultural Inclusion Task Force – Sharon Folta, Alecia Harper, Annie Murphy, Brian Jones, Sheila Siegel, Arlene Sweeting
Anti-Racism Task Force Recommendations
The Task Force requests that you spend some time reading and digesting the document on White Supremacy Culture before reviewing these recommendations.
FIVE MAIN GOALS
Goal #1 – COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: Develop stronger connections with all of the diverse neighborhoods and communities that our signal reaches.
GOAL #2 – LEADERSHIP AND STAFF: Expand the diversity of our listening base, programmers, staff representation, Board of Directors, Advisory Council and sponsorship base.
Goal #3 – POLICIES AND PROCEDURES: Use a participatory approach that includes BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) stakeholders to develop policies and procedures related to diversity, equity and inclusion that acknowledge the intersectionality of race, class, and gender.
Goal #4 – PROGRAMMING: Foster more diversity in programming and seek to address a broader range of community concerns and interests.
GOAL #5 – CULTURE: Build a more welcoming, inclusive, anti-racist organization.
For more information on our discussion of how to achieve these goals, click here.