Over the last few years, we have matured into an integral part of our community infrastructure. We are a conduit for myriad community voices. We built our reputation on creative partnerships amplifying the work of diverse artists while providing a range of programs to our community. Because of this philosophy of inclusivity, we believed that everyone had equitable access to AVFS and the programs we provide. However, we now understand that our approach has been based on economic, educational, and socio-political systems that treat white people as the norm and people of color as “other.” As a result, we unwittingly perpetuated and reinforced racial inequities in our programs, audiences, and leadership. In order to truly become an organization that welcomes everyone and offers equitable access to our films and programs, we must shift to a proactive, equity-centered approach in all aspects of our work.
We should and will do better. In order to do this successfully, diversity, equity, belonging, and access must be core values of our organization.
AVFS will be an anti-racist organization, where we have full participation from and shared power with people of all races, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientation, immigration status, and socio-economic status in determining each aspect of our work. We understand that many people hold multiple marginalized identities, and we strive for an intersectional approach in our equity work.
Here are the goals and actions we will take in the short, mid and long term:
- Become more diverse and equitable, increasing belonging and access as an organization so that we are more credible in addressing these same issues in the community.
- Strive to partner only with individuals and organizations that value collaboration as key to dismantling racism, ableism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, and transphobia within our organization and the broader society.
- Collaborate with organizations and individuals in the community who successfully lead efforts in diversity, equity, and belonging.
- Acknowledge that we are on unceded Pomo land and work with Native-led groups on how best to represent that through our programs. (see below)
- Attract and retain job candidates, volunteers, board members, filmmakers, vendors, suppliers, and business partners from diverse backgrounds.
- Assess and proactively design programs and events with diversity, equity, belonging, and access in mind.
- Integrate diversity, equity, belonging, and access educational opportunities into our public events so that our audiences may deepen their own understanding.
- Amplify the art of marginalized communities by centering films and filmmakers from marginalized communities and paying them fairly for their work.
- Disallow hate speech within our programs and within our spaces.
- Work with equity facilitators to inform our ongoing work, providing board and staff engagement, and training and compensating staff for their energy and time in this work.
- Complete an organization-wide equity audit during 2021.
- Reassess our internal and partner policies through a racial equity lens.
- Create better methodologies for receiving feedback from our partners and community members.
AVFS asks for active collaboration with our community, and our commitment to racial, cultural, ethnic, gender, and disabled equity is no different. We ask you to come with us on this journey and invite you to reach out to us with feedback and ideas, and to hold us accountable to these values. Please e-mail us at info[at]avfilmsociety.org.
We consider this to be a living document; we welcome and encourage feedback.
AVFS Land Acknowledgement
The Alexander Valley Film Society (AVFS) recognizes that we are on unceded lands of the Coast Miwok, Pomo, and Wappo. We respectfully acknowledge the Indigenous people who have lived here for thousands of years and who continue to contribute in meaningful ways to their communities and our society as a whole. Our shared history includes the genocide, forced removal, and ethnic cleansing of Indigenous people. AVFS is committed to centering Indigenous voices and stories to recognize the past and celebrate the resiliency of Native people and their culture. Our deepest thanks go to Nikki Myers Lim and the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center and Clint McKay for assisting us in this, our first draft.
This acknowledgement does not take the place of authentic relationships with Indigenous communities but serves as a gesture in respect to the land we are on.
We invite everyone watching and listening tonight to text 855-917-5263 with your zip code to learn more about the ancestral lands on which you live, work, or visit. For more resources, please visit our website at avfilmsociety.org/equity.
Though we are still early in articulating and demonstrating our commitment to equity, we arrived at this moment with good hearts. Our internal equity work showed us that we unwittingly perpetuated and reinforced racial inequities in our programs, audiences, and leadership. In order to truly become an organization that welcomes everyone and offers equitable access to our films and programs, we must shift to a proactive, equity-centered approach in all aspects of our work.
What are some of the land acknowledgement resources that provided support for this project?
- Native Land Digital land map: https://native-land.ca/
- The California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center land acknowledgment toolkit: https://www.csusm.edu/cicsc/land.pdf
- With inspiration from Sonoma County Regional Parks work on this issue
- Honor Native Land Toolkit https://usdac.us/nativeland
- Native Governance Center https://nativegov.org/a-guide-to-indigenous-land-acknowledgment/
Join our mailing list