Although baWTF leads with a goal of gender parity, we explicitly seek to promote equity in all its forms. We commit ourselves to employ at least 50% BIIPOC (Black Indigenous Immigrant People of Color) artists on and off the stage (per We See You White Theatre's Principles for Building Antiracist Theatre Systems), hire artists with disabilities and provide maximum ADA accessibility for both artists and audiences, including adding streaming options wherever possible.
We stand with, and in service of, our Black colleagues in the work necessary to dismantle White Supremacy and all systems that feed racism and anti-Blackness. Given the terrible history of white feminism's exclusion of and cruelty to Women+ of Color, we have emphasized centering and amplifying the voices of local Black, Latinx, MENA, Asian, PI and Indigenous artists, with the result that the baWTF Amplify event, as programmed, features not only 90% women+ but within that, over 70% artists who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. We commit to maintaining that emphasis when theaters re-open, and this hiatus gives us a prime opportunity to dream into existence a new theatre landscape that is truly equitable for BIPOC theater makers.
Black Lives Matter.
As such, Bay Area Women’s Theatre Festival will:
1. build our WOC producing and advising pool so that our leadership is as diverse as our performers
2. remain accountable to our co-instigators and artists by speaking up and working through difficulty when whiteness/privilege is silencing, driving away or otherwise harming our ability to work with integrity and be our best artists and selves.
3. ensure that all personnel are explicitly empowered to choose work tasks according to their priorities and needs as we divide the considerable labor of creating a festival. We acknowledge that privilege or lack thereof means we will not all do the same amount of work—it is one's existence, not one's workload, that entitles them to be heard
4. practice explicit transparency in our goals and practices, including naming the specific problem—racism, white supremacy, etc—rather than hiding behind euphemisms; and forefronting our BIPOC leadership and artists so that no one has to wonder whether they will be valued, represented, or welcome at our events.
A Call to Action:
Support BIPOC-lead Social Justice organizations:
Share/Support BIPOC theatre makers through Racial Justice initiatives like “We See You” https://www.weseeyouwat.com/
Demand racial and gender equity and justice in theatres led by predominantly white teams and transparency from those that are enacting policy and practice changes.
Call / Email / Write to leaders at your local theatre; make clear our expectations and hold them accountable.
As we grow, we both hope and expect to exceed these absolute minimum levels of accountability to Black artists. Our super-power as artists is to employ a clear-eyed understanding of the now to imagine and model the future we want to see. The Bay Area Women’s Theatre Festival is committed to being a creative problem-solver in moments of change and crisis in our community, and finding ways for theater to address the needs of our community. We commit to doing our part in truly making our community more equitable, just, and safe for ALL people.