Last June, we made a commitment to do more to make sure our school is a safe, inclusive, and anti-racist space, especially for Indigenous writers, Black writers, and writers of colour.
This is a check-in, to let you know how we’re doing on that commitment.
- We continue to train ourselves in diversity, equity, and inclusion; this is our daily practice.
- Our teachers will receive DEI training before they facilitate the Story Intensive each year.
- We’ve hired Indigenous, Black, brown, and queer authors and experts to lead Mindshare Sessions (formerly called Master Classes) in the Story Intensive, judge the Little Bird Contest, and lead our community members in Centered.
- We’ve refreshed our sales pages to uplift and empower using feminist marketing principles.
- When we need to outsource work, we look for partnerships with Black-owned and queer-owned companies.
- We now have a mental health consultant present for each semester of the Story Intensive.
- A trauma-aware movement therapist created somatic practices to support writers in both the Story Course and Intensive.
- We’ve awarded full and partial scholarships for the Story Intensive, the Story Course, and Centered to writers in financial need, with preference given to Indigenous writers, Black writers, and writers of colour.
- We’ve made sure we unambiguously express our commitment to help take down white supremacy.
- Our new Code of Conduct must be followed by everyone who enters our community.
- We’ve updated our How to Critique instructions with guidance on how to have a more nuanced understanding when engaging with race in stories.
- The Story Course has increased the number of readings by non-white authors to 30%.
- The Story Course now includes a section on Culture, Empathy, and Power, to help writers investigate and understand the nuances around cultural appropriation.
- We will be offering a BIPOC-only Story Intensive class this fall.
- Centered members can now create their own private, peer-to-peer BIPOC-only discussion spheres.
Our long-term goal is to put at least 30% of our school’s budget into Indigenous-, Black-, and queer-owned companies before 2023. We’re getting there!
The new edition of the Story Course is designed to be modular, so I can continue to update and diversify the readings over time.
We promise to uplift and centre writers who have been marginalized, and to continue learning and checking our own biases and blind spots.
We promise to do this in and through our writing, our reading, our offerings, policies, and other choices we make in our business practices.
Thank you for growing and evolving with us.
By continuing to question and subvert old structures with our thoughts and actions, we learn how to create and cultivate a new consciousness.
Photo credit (top): Shan Patel on Pexels