It’s hard to believe we’re already more than a week into 2021, and we’re sure we weren’t alone in raising a glass to the end of 2020 – see ya never! But despite the ups and downs of this unprecedented, unpredictable year, it feels like it’s sparked many important conversations and brought communities closer together. Back in June we shared our Anti-Racism and Inclusivity Action Plan and committed to sharing an update in six months, so here we are! Like we said at the time, we’re in it for the long haul, but we’re pleased to share the steps we’ve taken so far.
Read on for how we are working to make the points and goals from our action plan a reality.
ON THE GROUND: AT BEVIES & FESTIVALS
Sadly we haven’t had the opportunity to get back to our favourite thing: running bevies and festivals for our amazing beer drinking community! But, in preparation for the day we’re all back together we’ve put a few things in motion. Additionally, some of these points have been applied to our biggest pivot yet – our Mystery Boxes!
- Ensure we are promoting and fostering a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment at all of our events. Be clear that we have a zero-tolerance policy for racism and discrimination of any kind.
We posted our Anti-Racism & Inclusivity action plan to our website & social media, and updated our About Us section to re-affirm our commitment to fostering spaces where racism, homophobia and discrimination are not tolerated and our differences are celebrated. To ensure we are putting these values into practice, we are putting together an Inclusivity Committee made up of a diverse group from within and outside of our community to help us with next steps. Excited to share more on this soon!
- Add an inclusivity statement to our Volunbeer sign up sheet to encourage a diverse range of applicants.
We decided to take this a step further and put together a Volunbeer Code of Conduct that everyone working at our events, pop-ups, or mystery box packing will be required to sign. The Code of Conduct clearly states that we have a zero tolerance policy for racism, harassment or discrimination of any kind, and outlines steps that folks can take and who to report to should they experience or witness anything of this nature at an SOBDL event.
- Implement an anonymous survey after each event asking volunteers and participants how they felt in our space, to share concerns, and what we can do to improve the experience.
We sent out our first survey to volunbeers in October and heard from more than 60 folks who have worked for us in all sorts of capacities! While the feedback was overwhelmingly positive, we discussed suggestions and concerns in the context of our next steps. The feedback from this and all future surveys will also be shared with our Inclusivity Committee as we continue to shape our policies.
- Continue to hire and partner with womxn of colour as vendors, security, DJ’s, performers, photographers, etc. and ensure we are mindful of the communities we are reflecting in our programming.
While our events have been on hold, our Mystery Boxes have been an excellent way for us to continue to partner with breweries and vendors, both those who have participated in our events, and some brand new to us! We’ve done our best to be proactive in reaching out to womxn from many different communities, but we’re always open to suggestions. If you or someone you know would like to be considered for a future mystery box shoot Erica an email at email@example.com
- Continue to recognize and honour Indigenous communities with a land acknowledgement at every event. Take the lead from Indigenous womxn in our community to share more context around the importance of not just reading an acknowledgement, but honouring and understanding why.
This will be a major priority for us when we are back to hosting events, and we are hopeful it is something that the folks on our Inclusivity Committee will help make a reality. We strongly encourage any Indigenous womxn in our community to apply!
OUR COLLABS & PARTNERSHIPS
- Actively broaden our pool of collaborators and in particular, seek out businesses owned/operated by BIPOC for our events and our online shop.
We have been actively seeking out BIPOC businesses to collaborate with, particularly for our mystery boxes. We’re also looking forward to working with the folks on our Inclusivity Committee to broaden our reach further.
- Build partnerships with groups focused on supporting and empowering BIPOC womxn and non-binary folx, invite their communities to our events and look for other meaningful collaborations.
Our Mystery Boxes were a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with an organization focused on these goals, and we are thrilled to be supporting Black Women In Motion, a Toronto-based, youth-led organization that empowers and supports the advancement of black womxn, and survivors of sexual violence. A donation is made to Black Women in Motion with every box, and we’ve also included info on their programs in the boxes and on our social media. We’re looking forward to our continued partnership, and to support other organizations like BWIM in the future.
- Brew a more diverse range of beer with our collab partners, using a variety of international ingredients and beer styles. Ensure these ingredients are fair trade and sustainably farmed. Honour and learn about the land and the culture they are from.
We’re looking forward to expanding our beer horizons in 2021 and digging further into this piece of the action plan.
OUR DIGITAL PLATFORMS: LEARNING & SHARING
- Update the mission statement on our website to reflect our anti-racist and anti-discrimination values.
We made this update to our ‘About Us’ section which you can check out by clicking here.
- Update the pride flag on our website, newsletter, and any updated promotional material to recognize the unique intersectional experiences of people of colour within the LGBTQ+ community.
We’ve updated the pride flag to the Progress Pride flag, designed in 2018 by artist Daniel Quasar. This design incorporates stripes of black and brown to further represent the queer and trans identities of black and brown people, as well as the colours of the trans flag. For more on the design, click here.
- Commit to putting together a database of North American breweries owned by BIPOC, womxn or LGBTQ+ folx, and hosting this resource on our website.
This is an exciting priority for us for 2021! While there’s lots of info out there, we’re hoping to put together this useful resource with the help of folks on our Inclusivity Committee and have it up and running by the end of the year.
- Commit to including more BIPOC focused resources, businesses, and organizations in our social media posts and in our weekly Society Scoop newsletter.
We will continue to use our platforms to boost BIPOC businesses and organizations, and look forward to developing new partnerships in 2021.
OUR DONATIONS & COMMUNITY SUPPORT
- Continue to make charitable donations to the Canadian Women’s Foundation in support of their varied programs for diverse women across the country with a portion of our event ticket sales and all bar tips.
While we only managed to squeeze in one bevy this year thanks (no thanks!) to the pandemic, we did raise some coin through the ticket sales, bar tips and a 50/50 draw. We also continued our support of CWF through some of our collab beers, including our two brews with Junction Craft Brewing (‘Livin’ La Vida Mocha’ and ‘P.O.P.’) ‘Star Ap-peel’ with Common Good Brewing, ‘Forest City Haze’ with London Brewing Co-op and our collab with Nickelbrook Brewing ‘All Zest Up and No Place to Go.’ Overall we managed to raise $5000 for CWF this year.
- Use our beer collabs, special swag items and smaller events to support a wider range of organizations that focus on specific marginalized communities. Actively look for opportunities to support grassroots and community organizations.
We were pleased to partner with and support some other locally focused organizations this year, including:
Black Women in Motion with a donations made for every Mystery Box sold totalling about $1500. We’re excited to continue our support with our next round of boxes.
Glad Day Book Shop’s Emergency Survival Fund with 50 cents from every bottle of our Tropic Like It’s Hot Pineapple collab with People’s Pint totalling about $400
While it’s always fun to look back, we’re looking forward to continuing to make progress in 2021. Once our Inclusivity Committee is up and running we’ll be sharing updates on their work and all of the ways we are continuing to build community – one sip at a time!