Friends in BTS,
The Coordinating Committee (CC) and members at large have been thinking hard about diversity, inclusion, and anti-oppression in BTS over the past several months. In December, thirteen of us gathered for a facilitated Diversity and Inclusion workshop. You’ll find a copy of the report here. The December group identified the “culture” of BTS as being not as diverse as we would like (see pages 2-4). One of four key recommendations coming out of that workshop was to gather information about how members of various under-represented and marginalized communities–based on ethnicity, ‘race,’ religion, language, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability, among others–might experience barriers to becoming involved with BTS and its work; with a view to removing these barriers so that full participation is actively welcomed, encouraged, and valued (see p. 6–at bottom–& p. 7).
To this end, the BTS CC is inviting expressions of interest from anyone in the network who would like to join a working group to contribute to this discussion. BTS values information-gathering from its past and current members and allies. In particular, we invite members of racialized groups, members of Indigenous and Black communities, ethnic minorities, Guatemalans, people who are differently-abled, 2SLGBTQA+ folks, and anyone who feels that BTS could do a better job of incorporating genuine, active anti-oppression and inclusion into our network.
The working group
Once formed, this group is invited to name itself, but for now will be referred to as the BTS Anti-oppression & Inclusion Working Group (WG). It will be composed of people with some experience (past or present) as members of, or allies with, the BTS network. We are looking for people who have an analysis of how oppression works in Canada and Guatemala in a context of ongoing colonialism, anti-black racism, and other forms of racism, sexism, able-ism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. If you’d like to learn more about these issues, check out this resource.
The overall intentions of this process are (1) to engage the BTS network in transformative discussions about anti-oppression and inclusion principles and how they can be acted upon in BTS in its activities both in Canada and Guatemala; and (2) to help the network make itself a more welcoming and accessible space for people from different backgrounds, experiences, identities, and social locations than those who currently make up the majority of the network, particularly those from marginalized communities.
The mandate of the Working Group is to develop a framework of policies and practices to guide the network in its shared understanding, adoption, and integration of anti-oppression and inclusion principles in its work in Canada and Guatemala in order for it to grow towards reaching the above-stated objectives.
You can find more information about the background, intention, and ideas about proposed timelines in the “Mandate” document.
If this sounds like the kind of work you would like to contribute to BTS, or if you have any questions about it, please get in touch with Stacey Gomez (btsmaritimescoordinator (at) gmail
If joining the working group is not an option for you, but you would still like to comment about how to adopt and enact anti-oppression and inclusion principles in BTS, please reply to this email indicating that you would be interested in being contacted by the WG once it is formed.
Caren, Janette, Janelle, Kathryn, Marla, Lynne, Stacey, Lisa, Fabienne, Yvette, Sheena, and Rosalind
The Community Council of the BTS Network