For us, the members of Team BKP, who benefit from white privilege, the events of the past few years have opened our eyes to the degree of injustice faced by people of color in our society every day, and we have learned that it is our responsibility to educate ourselves and make changes. Our complicity as White, cisgender, non-disabled people makes this system possible, so the change must start with us.
This action plan is our commitment to the movement to support and protect the lives of marginalized people in our society.
2020 shined the spotlight on Black people murdered by racist, violent police officers. 2021 marked a surge in hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
We at Team BKP want to make sure that this does not become a fading moment in history; that we take steps to change the culture in our company and our personal lives. We understand that our silence on these issues prior to this year is merely supporting evidence for the wide scope of the problem.
We told you in June of 2020 that we were attending racial bias training, and this training helped us see the all-encompassing nature of bias and discrimination against BIPOC in our industry, government, and community – we’re very grateful to Natajia Miller for her excellent workshop.
To continue the conversation, we invited our entire email list, Facebook groups, Instagram followers, program participants, and the general public to an Anti-Racism Community Roundtable in December of 2020. We hired Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice experts Bear Bellinger and Doug Peck to facilitate this action. They helped us implement affinity spaces during the workshop so that our participants could be provided with the opportunity to listen, learn, and speak up in safe, encouraging environments. Bear and Doug furthered our education; we learned how to be better allies in the entertainment industry and how we can specifically show up for the BIPOC members of this community.
We want you to know that you can count on us to do our part to create a more equitable and just society, starting with this community, of which you are all a vital part.
Below you’ll find our plan to move forward with this work:
SAFE BRAVE SPACE We commit to a community free of racism and discrimination. We want to make it clear that we have a zero tolerance policy for racist clients or community members. This community strives to be a safe place for people of all backgrounds and experiences, and we will remove anyone whose language or conduct is discriminatory. Our first email in support of Black Lives Matter yielded some responses that didn’t align with our anti-racist values, and those people have been removed from our email list and our Facebook community. We have added Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice language to all of our program contracts and the community rules for our Facebook groups.
OUTREACH We commit to using our platform for change. Our anti-racist values will lead the way in our decisions to form partnerships, invite guests to our podcast, and promote offerings. Beyond our own programming, this will include resources shared on our Facebook page, speaking engagement requests that Brian accepts, and opportunities that we pass on to you. We will ensure that any platform or organization where Brian guest teaches is offering 50% of teaching slots to BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ or disabled individuals. If an organization isn’t there yet, Brian will recommend alternate speakers from different demographics to take his spot.
MONEY TALKS We commit to giving our money to businesses owned by BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ or disabled individuals as much as possible. This can be challenging when we are working with larger companies like payment processors, who may not have many competitors. We expect this goal in particular to grow and evolve, so we’ve decided to be as data-driven as possible in this arena and start with a focus on our vendors. These are the small independent companies that we pay to do contract work for us – designing, copywriting, video editing, etc.We reviewed our 2020 finances and only 6.8% of the money we paid to contractors in 2020 went to BIPOC-owned businesses. We are not happy about that. We have a lot of room to grow in this area, so our goal is for 20% of our payments to vendors to go to BIPOC-owned businesses by the end of 2021.
ACCOUNTABILITY We commit to an open door policy for anyone moved to express concerns about our execution of these DEIJ policies. For instance, when we originally reached out to our email list about Black Lives Matter, it was brought to our attention by a BIPOC Facebook group member that we neglected to share our commitment in our social media spaces. This taught us that members of our Facebook communities are not always on our email list; this was an oversight on our part and we will now make sure our messaging goes out through all channels. We want to hear your feedback. We will make mistakes, and we hope these errors will help us learn to do better in the future.
We want our BIPOC members to thrive here without extra pressure to hold us accountable. To be clear: we do not expect our BIPOC community members to do the labor to educate us (but are open to hearing from you!). We as a team commit to doing this work, and ask the other white members of this community to do the work with us. We are open to feedback from anyone and everyone.
DIVERSITY We commit to fostering diversity in our programs. Team BKP created our DEIJ Scholarship & Reparations to encourage diverse enrollment and provide opportunity to individuals who self-identify with racial and ethnic backgrounds, gender identities, sexual orientations, and/or disabilities who have been historically overlooked in the entertainment industry.
We dedicate 5% of all tuition received to our fund for BIPOC, Disabled, and/or LGBTQIA+ actors. We open up applications twice a year (July and January) for scholarships up to $200 offered on a first come, first served basis until the fund is depleted.
Our next application period will be January 2022. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. Spread the word!
LANGUAGE We commit to being intentional with our language, because it matters. We did a deep dive on our materials and wherever possible removed instances of language that we now understand to be offensive. We tell you this to assure you that we realize honesty is important during this process, and we want to be held accountable for our mistakes. We would hate for these errors to be quietly corrected without understanding the lesson that comes with them, and we apologize for our ignorance in the past. We are learning, and we commit to do better. Two specific examples:
We will no longer be referring to any of our communities as a “tribe” as we now understand this to be language co-opted from Indigenous communities.
In July of 2020 we changed the name (and fist logo) of our program Actor Uprising to Actor Operating System. Here's the email explaining the change:
ONGOING EDUCATION We commit to educate ourselves so that we are able to continue adapting and growing our understanding of our own prejudices and systemic racism. We hope to use what we learn to make more thoughtful choices as a business within the entertainment industry, and act from a more informed place in the stewardship of an inclusive community.
Thanks to Christine Bruno, a disability educator and recent guest on Brian’s podcast, we have recently begun to learn about how to make our online programs and content more accessible to blind/low vision and deaf or hard of hearing actors. We commit to a complete accessibility overhaul of 33% of our course offerings by the end of 2021.
Click below if you'd like some really helpful takeaways that we learned.
We are grateful for our community – this group is made up of beautiful and kind individuals from all backgrounds.
For those of us who are white, we hope we can embrace humility, come to terms with our privilege and use it to create a more just version of this little corner of the world.
For those of you who are Black, Indigenous, People of Color, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, LGBTQIA+, disabled: we are grateful to have you as a part of our community and we look forward to continuing the work of making this a safe, brave space to show up and be artists together.
Our plan means nothing without action. We intend for this to be both an immediate promise and a living document that progresses along with our world. We look forward to hearing your feedback, and we promise to keep you updated as these commitments shift and grow. This is just the beginning.
Brian Patacca email@example.com Emily Boyle firstname.lastname@example.org Silvana Gargione email@example.com
Summer Mastain firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. We welcome your feedback and insights on our plan and we intend to keep you updated, not only to hold us accountable, but so that we can create a community where everyone feels safe and supported to express themselves and be heard: our inboxes are always open.