From December 9-10, 2017, members of BTS met in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia for a workshop on diversity and inclusion. The workshop, facilitated by Mohamed Yaffa and Paula Gallant, aimed to build a shared vision of how diversity and inclusion will be considered in our work as a network. You can read the report from the workshop here.
Highlights from the workshop included examining BTS’ culture, brainstorming our vision for the network in 2020 and identifying problems/issues that will have to be overcome in order to achieve a diverse and inclusive network. We ended the workshop by identifying key priority areas, with recommendations aimed at:
- increasing energy and engagement in local committees;
- clarifying BTS’s structure and decision-making so people feel on the same page/level playing field;
- developing more genuine solidarity relationships with organizations/ individuals from diverse groups (People of Colour, Black, Indigenous); and
- understanding barriers to participation of marginalized communities in BTS
Janette Fecteau, a member of the BTS Antigonish Committee, says about the workshop, “I think a lot of us came to the workshop with a bit of trepidation, maybe to do with our social positioning as mostly privileged white folk approaching ideas of Diversity and Inclusion. But the workshop managed to be fun, friendly, and yet challenging and useful. I am really grateful that we pulled four concrete, achievable goals out of the discussions.”
Since December, we as BTS have continued our work on diversity and inclusion, with the BTS Community Council voting in February to adopt the recommendations coming from this report. We are also in the beginning stages of creating a working group aimed at developing a diversity and inclusion framework for the network. Diversity and inclusion will also be a focal point at our upcoming AGM. Finally, we are starting to implement diversity and inclusion workshops to carry forward this work at the local level. Our first workshop took place with the Antigonish committee on March 30, 2018 and in the future we’ll be coming to a committee near you! Stay tuned for more announcements and updates on this ongoing work.