OUR JUSTICE, EQUITY, DIVERSITY, AND INCLUSION STATEMENT 

For the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion are core to who we are and to what we do. These qualities flow from our long-standing fundamental values of Diversity and Inclusiveness, Social Justice, Environmental Stewardship, and Artistic Excellence. They drive how we fulfil our mission to bring traditional and contemporary folk and roots music to people in an environment of community collaboration and discovery. They are a strong part of our history, and we commit to engage with our community to ensure we honour them as best possible both today and in the future. 


WHAT IT MEANS TO US 

Justice means dismantling systemic barriers to opportunity and eliminating systemic disadvantages so all can enjoy a full and dignified life. Equity is about allocating resources and changing processes to promote equal inclusion in all aspects of the Festival for everyone based on their needs. Diversity is the wide variety of visible and invisible differences that stem from and contribute to the experiences, histories, and ways of being of individuals and groups. Inclusion means fostering a sense of belonging and importance for all by embracing, honouring, and engaging with diverse communities and people in everything that we do. We refer collectively to these as JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion). 


HOW WE PRACTICE IT 

We like you just the way you are. The Festival is for all of us, whoever we are, wherever we come from, however we are, and whatever we think, feel, or believe. Our JEDI commitment drives all that we do to nurture it. 

We expect and require that all staff, management, directors, volunteers, performers, suppliers, patrons, attendees, sponsors, and vendors respect and support our dedication to JEDI, as articulated in this statement. We embed this commitment in the Festival’s bylaws, policies, procedures, and practices, which collectively guide how we do what we do. Our Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility committee (JEDI-A) oversees and seeks to continuously improve our work in this area. 

For us excellence in programming is inseparable from JEDI. We curate our offerings to embrace art and artists of different genres and experiences. We continuously seek to make room for all voices to be heard. We provide a platform for performers who share our dedication to JEDI and express it through their art. 

“You are the folk, this is your festival” is one of our most cherished sayings. We recognize that everyone has the right to participate in the cultural life of our community. We engage with individuals and groups in our community to better understand their needs and desires. We use this understanding to help us create fair access for all to enjoy and participate in our activities and operations. 

We work deliberately to make the Festival accessible to all. Our Accessibility Committee volunteers work with Festival staff to ensure folks of all physical and mental abilities can participate. We have programs that invite and welcome attendees from a wide range of backgrounds, communities, and lived experiences. 

We invite individuals from our communities with diverse backgrounds and skills to help us achieve our mission – whether they are our staff, our Board members, or our very many Festival volunteers. 

We acknowledge that the Vancouver Folk Music Festival takes place on the unceded and traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples – swx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and xʷməθkʷəy̓ əm (Musqueam) Nations. We strive to engage meaningfully with our hosts to ensure what we do as guests respects their stewardship of these territories. 


HOW WE DO BETTER 

As committed as we are to the JEDI work that we are doing, our most important commitment in this area is to do better. That is because we know that we can and must always improve. 

We recognize that we carry with us historic and cultural biases, both as an institution and as individuals. These biases shape our perceptions and our actions. Through reflection, training, and dialogue we are committed to understanding them and overcoming the barriers to JEDI that they create. 

We know that we must engage in more and deeper dialogue with all the communities that collectively make up our community. We commit to seek out and listen to those groups with whom we do not engage sufficiently, especially those that are marginalized and under-represented. 

We understand that our JEDI work must be led by those members of our community who need to benefit from it. We also recognize that this work must not burden them - it is ours to do. 

We welcome feedback and critique with open hearts and open minds. Though the resulting conversations may be difficult, we know that they will be also fruitful and ultimately constructive. 

We pledge to translate our learnings into actions that will strengthen JEDI in everything we do to further our mission to bring traditional and contemporary folk and roots music to people in an environment of community collaboration and discovery. 


VFMF JEDI GLOSSARY 

“Accessibility” The ability for all individuals to access, connect to, be aware of, and benefit from the Organization’s activities and operations. 

“Equity” Equity is about fairness and in recognizing and removing systemic barriers, biases, and obstacles to ensure access to opportunities for all individuals. To 

achieve parity in policy, process and outcomes for historically and/or currently 

underrepresented and/or marginalized people and groups while accounting for diversity. It considers power, access, opportunities, treatment, impacts and 

outcomes, in three main areas. 

  • Representational equity: the proportional participation at all levels of theorganization; 
  • Resource equity: the distribution of resources in order to close equity gaps;

and 

  • Equity-mindedness: the demonstration of an awareness of, and willingness to, address equity issues.

“Diversity” Diversity refers to the wide variety of outwardly visible and invisible differences that contribute to the experiences of individuals and groups. All the differences between us are based on which we experience advantages or encounter barriers to opportunities. Diversity functions to affirm each individual's unique and  varied histories, experiences, and ways of being, knowing, doing and relating. It is about being different and acknowledging and celebrating the differences. 

These include both individual and group/social differences. Individual  differences include, but are not limited to personality; and life experiences. 

Group/social differences include, but are not limited to: the grounds defined in the B.C. Human Rights Code, and VFMFS Anti-Harassment Policy. 

“Inclusion” Inclusion is the process through which we build a community where the diversity of human experiences, perspectives, and identities is recognized and respected. Inclusion fosters belonging and affords everyone the right to participate and strengthen the collective well-being of our communities by actively, intentionally, and continuously engaging historically and/or currently underrepresented and/or marginalized individuals and/or groups into processes, activities and policy making in a way that shares power. Inclusion seeks to achieve equity. 

“Justice” Justice stands for social justice, the concept of fair and just relations between the individual and general society. This is measured by the explicit and tacit terms for the distribution of power, wealth, education, healthcare, and other opportunities for personal activity and social privileges being impacted upon by numerous differing viewpoints and perspectives, including the concepts of moral correctness based on ethics, rationality, law, religion, equity and fairness. 

“JEDI & A” Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility. In the context of the society, JEDI advocates for the creation of opportunities and the elimination of lack of opportunities for historically and/or currently underrepresented and/or marginalized populations in our audience engagement, hiring, board recruitment, volunteer recruitment, sponsorship, partnership and vendor engagement, festival programming and growth efforts in closing the gaps. 

Accessibility is an integral part of our site design for the physical festival itself, to maximize the ability of individuals to participate in the event. 

“The Organization” The Vancouver Folk Music Festival Society (VFMFS), its volunteers (including officers and directors), contractors, and employees. 

“The Society” The Vancouver Folk Music Festival Society, a society registered under the Societies Act of British Columbia. 

“Under-representation and Marginalizations” 

Historically and/or Currently Underrepresented and/or Marginalized refers to the collective whole of those experiencing negative social, educational, and power-related impacts due to issues related to diversity, equity, and/or inclusion. Historically Underrepresented and/or Marginalized is the underrepresentation and marginalization of a group that may have their origins in the past in ways that impact the present moment. Currently Underrepresented and/or Marginalized is the underrepresentation and marginalization of a group not historically rooted but contributes to exclusion nonetheless. Underrepresented refers to people or groups with insufficient or inadequate representation in various aspects of participation. Marginalized is used to describe people or groups who have been (intentionally or unintentionally) distanced from access to resources and constructed as insignificant, peripheral, or less valuable/privileged to community or “mainstream” society.