We were thrilled to reconvene our Inclusivity Committee at the end of March to continue our work to prioritize inclusivity and equity in all aspects of SOBDL. The biggest shift since we last met: we have an official home for the Society Clubhouse! We updated the committee on new inclusivity and accessibility initiatives at the space, many of which grew from previous meetings and conversations. We had an engaging discussion about other areas to focus on and went over our new Code of Conduct. Huge thanks to our committee for their valuable time and input! We appreciate your support as we continue on this journey.
Read on for the minutes from our meeting, and the next steps we’re engaging in going forward.
- Accessibility: Our new space includes washrooms located on the main floor, and an accessible washroom. We installed a wheelchair table in the café/bar area, will be connecting with stopgap.ca for our CafeTO street patio and ensuring the main entrance is fully accessible. (Thanks to Drea for working on these elements, with support from Shannon, Sarah and Raushan.)
- Washrooms: We installed custom gender neutral washroom signs including braille. One of our washrooms includes a changing station, as well as a quiet space for breastfeeding.
- Signage: We prioritized readability with all signage in colour and font. We used The 519 toolkit Creating Authentic Spaces and CNIB Clear Print Guide. We also added a hanging sign to our front window with the Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ2IA+flags
- Community: We have a Personal Care Bank that will be filled with personal care items and placed outside during business hours.
- Beer & Bottleshop: We will be prioritizing women-owned and women-brewed beers, and stocking socially progressive collabs like Brave Noise and Link Up. We are partnering further with Link Up on a dedicated beer tap, with $1 from every pour supporting their initiatives to connect underrepresented groups to opportunities in the beer industry. We will also be stocking lots of non-alcoholic options.
- Vendors: For our tuck shop we are prioritizing women-owned companies and featuring veggie/vegan options. Our Artisan Market will feature a diverse, rotating group of women artisans. Each shelf will have a bio & photo celebrating each artisan.
- Artwork: We are building out a gallery wall partnering with local artists to display and sell their work.
- Programming: We have three in-house programs in progress so far: The Little Locals Society, a casual drop-in for parents and caregivers of all identities; The Betty, a monthly comedy series built to reflect the sometimes overlooked diversity within the comedy community AND an Around the World Beer Dinner series celebrating the incredible diversity in Toronto through Food + Beer. Check out our event listings at the space by clicking here!
- Code of Conduct: We put together a code of conduct and land acknowledgement that we will prominently displace at the space. More on this below!
Social Media Updates
- We are working to highlight specific dates and months including Black History Month and International Women’s Day and sharing resources on our pages. We’re not claiming to be experts but shining a light and sharing resources for folks to look more closely.
- We are also relaunching our former feature ‘Women in Beer Wednesday’ as the Society Spotlight with a more inclusive focus. Not only featuring women but also folks outside of the beer community.
- Drea provided an update on training throughout April offered by Erin Broadfoot.
- SOBDL staff also attended Introduction “Anti Racism at work” Training offered by Selam Debs.
- Once we have done our hiring of new staff for the space we will ensure that there is group training that will include implicit bias training. Through the Dandelion Initiative, Drea will also train staff on safe bar, bystander and AHL training.
- Drea has recommended that there be a budget put in place to ensure that there are funds available for training for staff throughout the year.
- She has also offered her book collection for staff to read on racism, white supremacy and intersectional feminism, which she will leave in the staff break room.
- Having our space makes things easier as we are in control of the space where our events are being held.
- Raised the question of having an anonymous comment box, physically in the space and potentially a digital one. We are looking into options.
- Should we have sexual health products in the washrooms along with menstrual products? Looking into sharps disposal for the washrooms as well.
- Ren suggested having Julie Sawchuk who wrote Building Better Bathrooms do a site visit to confirm the accessibility of the washrooms once we are up and running. She is based in Blythe but travels.
- When putting together playlists for the space, we need to be mindful to not include artists that are known abusers.
- Suggestions for potential rentals or monthly events: Ro raised the idea of a sex-positive talk series. Drea has someone in mind.
STAFFING & HIRING
- Aiming to be open 10am-10pm and to do buyouts as much as possible.
- Discussed how we can expand our talent pool and work on equitable hiring practices.
- Focus on the actual role i.e. Hospitality, Customer Service, doesn’t need to be all about Beer.
- Change up the traditional phrasing and include language that covers accommodations in the posting.
- Look into specific agencies that hire diverse folks including immigrants and people with disabilities.
- Meoshi suggested being open to non-traditional applications, asking questions that are more about being a fit for the job and how they might fit the culture rather than a cover letter or specific resume.
- Post on Link Up‘s job board and connect to their community.
- Other suggestions: Indeed, LinkedIn, Breweries we work with, Ontariobeerjobs.ca
TRUTH & RECONCILIATION
- Discussed that there are many things coming up in terms of Indigenous trauma and missing folks being discovered.
- Lots of diverse feelings in the community about alcohol. Important that we engage with Indigenous communities but also be respectful of their boundaries and histories with alcohol.
- Would love to add some Indigenous authors to the list of resources and educational info we are building, Dawn offered to send ideas for links, books and music.
- Especially want to highlight media about Indigenous joy and not just trauma. Something to keep in mind as we engage with these issues is to focus on joy and the full history of communities, not just the hardships.
CODE OF CONDUCT
- Our code of Conduct and Land Acknowledgement can be found here!
- Thanks to our committee for their input on the wording including acknowledging that we can’t guarantee safety because it looks different for everyone, and highlighting ableism in our zero tolerance policy.
- We are planning to add the Code of Conduct to the Clubhouse website and potentially the SOBDL site as well.
- We are open to changes and taking suggestions and feedback as we continue to develop our policy.
- We are building out a library of resources online and planning to make it shareable to our community. More to come on this initiative!
COMMITTEE MOVING FORWARD
- Committee are enjoying that we are mixing up the format each time and keeping an open forum.
- Interested in potentially meeting in person but including a hybrid option for those out of town.
- After a year, planning to do a callout and cycle in some new folks to the committee.