We, the (BIPoC) Black, Indigenous, and Staff of Color at AS220, affirm that the following demands have been written from a place of love, integrity, and hope that AS220 can live up to its true creative potential as both a leader in this city and as a national model for arts organizations throughout this country. These demands were written in response to uprisings across our nation and the historic, structural racism embedded here in Providence, and right here at AS220. These demands are crafted drawing on the experiences of BIPoC staff who have invested their time, energy, and livelihood in this organization. We have extensive experience with and have been impacted by the existing policies and procedures that form the basis of these demands. To continue with our investment, AS220 must stand in solidarity with Black people by making a public statement and public-facing plan of action as it concerns the police state, anti-Black racism in Rhode Island, and the hunting and caging of Black people. In addition, the following demands must be at the heart of our next strategic plan for AS220 to truly make strides to becoming an anti-racist organization:
1. Invest in BIPoC Leadership – Restructure AS220 organizational leadership to accurately reflect BIPoC communities and values at the staff and board level.
2. Revise the Mission, Vision, and Values – Our mission, vision, and values must be rewritten to center the lives of BIPoC. They must specify that we are an anti-racist organization. All AS220 programs and departments will be restructured to align with these principles accordingly.
3. Abolish Original Music Policy – The original music policy actively pushes BIPoC out of AS220’s Live Arts spaces and erases BIPoC history and culture.
4. Restructure Housing Program – Invest in BIPoC communities by providing youth housing, transitional housing, and rental space to BIPoC artists who are low-income.
5. Invest in Equitable Pay– Invest in racial justice by transforming our “Equal Pay” policy into an “Equitable Pay” structure that is founded on a living wage. This accounts for historical gaps in wealth and opportunity that disproportionately impact BIPoC communities.
6. Transparency in Anti-Racist Fundraising and Development: We need a more transparent fundraising and development process including the implementation of a community review board to oversee the allocation of funds. All funds received in support of BIPoC must go directly to the programs that center BIPoC communities.
7. Extending Health Insurance to All – The majority of BIPoC staff are part-time, therefore we must extend health care benefits to all employees at AS220.
8. Develop an Anti-Racist HR Department– BIPoC staff need to know that there is active and knowledgeable support to aide in HR-related matters. AS220 must invest in a Human Resources department and HR staff. Furthermore, BIPoC must be involved in leading our hiring processes moving forward.
9. Engage in Anti-Racist Advocacy– It is not enough to “agree” with advocacy efforts. AS220 must become an active advocate for local and national policy change that impacts BIPoC communities starting with the areas that we champion; arts, juvenile justice, housing, and food.
10. Divest in Policing– Moving forward, we must commit to not calling the police on our Black and Brown community members unless there is an active threat of violence that includes a weapon. It must be in writing and understood that calling the police is the LAST resort and everyone on the scene must be notified before the call is made. AS220 must develop and implement a restorative/transformative justice policy and protocol that is understood and practiced by staff and programs.
11. Assemble an Anti-Racist Policy Committee – We must assemble a policy committee that will examine all current and future policies through an anti-racist lens.
12. Mandate Anti-Racist Training: The board and all staff must actively participate in an approved anti-racist training within 3 months of service and be retrained regularly. This should be a minimum requirement for all people who wish to work at AS220 or serve on its Board of Directors.
These demands are actionable steps towards transforming AS220 into an anti-racist organization. If AS220 does not accept these demands and fails to commit to anti-racist values, BIPoC staff will no longer have the capacity to invest in this organization.
The BIPoC Staff of AS220