ILEA-MSP is heartbroken by the tragic murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, and to the pain and anger reverberating throughout not just our local community, but America and across the globe.
We have spent the last several weeks listening, learning, and planning.
As a professional association we are committed to continuing our work on examining and expanding the equity and inclusion within our chapter. We recognize that historically our membership has been predominately white, cisgendered, heterosexual members. We as an organization have the ability to ensure access, share resources and amplify diverse voices of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPoC) within our membership and surrounding community. We must commit to using our systemic influence to change the diversity within our industry.
We would like to be transparent in where we currently fall short and how we plan to take action moving forward.
This is where we fall short:
- We are an association focused on connecting event professionals and supporting them with education and professional development that hasn’t historically included everyone.
- We recognize that our industry here in Minnesota is particularly homogeneous towards those who are white, cisgendered, college educated and financially privileged.
- We know that when we say #ILEASTRONG, we can only be as strong as our weakest parts, and we pledge to strengthen the bonds and connections within our community with those who are systemically excluded.
This is how we will take action:
- Create an on-going community relationship with at least one local organization, supporting them with physical and planning resources. Beginning in summer of 2020, we are supporting The Sanneh Foundation by providing volunteers to help maintain their community garden which provides food for BIPoC families.
- Establish an annual scholarship offered to Black event professionals. The scholarship will provide a one-year ILEA membership and access to programs and events during that year This will create an immediate step towards embracing more diverse perspectives. In future years we will extend this scholarship to all BIPoC, but in 2020 we will be exclusively focusing on Black event professionals.
- Commit to lifting up and amplifying the voices of underrepresented members of our events community and support anti-racist reforms within all live events. This will be done by sharing information and resources through our communication channels.
- Ensure our Board of Directors includes a wider range of voices from those underrepresented in our field, and providing them with anti-bias education to make certain anti-racist practices are infused into the organization.
- Embrace our BIPoC, differently abled, and LGBTQ+ and gender nonconforming guests for all live events, making it the norm, not the exception.