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Ally-ship and accountability towards diversity and inclusion within Stratford July 27, 2020

Dear SCCBIA Membership, our City of Stratford and Community of Stratford,

In the light of recent events in our city and broader response to our growing awareness of the imperative to care for all in our community and beyond, we as Board Members and Staff of the Stratford City Centre Business Improvement Area have taken time to reflect on the role we play, and the actions needed to be part of a city that desires to be ever more inclusive in both action and words in relationship with Stratford’s BIPOC community. We also believe this to be important work to commit ourselves to with the LGBTQ+ community.

We wish to offer an apology for the ways in which our actions may have not reflected the diversity of our city and membership as a whole.
We acknowledge that we still have much to learn, our work is not complete. Together we are entering a marathon, not a sprint. We seek for this public letter not to be a reflection of performative ally-ship, but rather ally-ship that chooses accountability and being held to action together with you.

As a Board we want to be clear that intolerance, racist behaviour, and hate will not be tolerated in and by our businesses. We want our business community to be safe and inclusive to all, and as such hate-based comments and incidents will be taken seriously and should be reported to Police.

We wish to reiterate the aims and objectives of our Stratford City Centre Business Improvement Association and to maintain our commitment to these objectives, as we believe they speak to our desire to support diversity and inclusion within our city.

Among these objectives are the following; maintaining Stratford City Centre as an active and viable area, encouraging more use of the City Centre businesses by both local residents and visitors, encouraging a forum in which the downtown business community can develop opinions and programmes which benefit the social, economic and physical quality of life in Stratford, and promoting our City Centre as a unique place in which to shop, work, visit or live.

As such we commit to the following Actionable Steps of Ally-ship:
We will welcome and intentionally seek out a diverse representation on our current subcommittees (Animation, Marketing, Human Resources).
We will intentionally work towards the make-up of our SCC BIA Board to be one that reflects a more diverse and inclusive membership.
We will, with the guidance of BIPOC leaders, conduct Diversity and Inclusion Workshops and Training for all Board Members and Staff.
We are working towards the addition to our existing Aims and Objectives, ones that speak to, and address clearly our intention to be a more diverse and inclusive City Centre.
We will partner with other organizations within our City that share our values and are seeking to do their necessary work of acknowledging places of white privilege, enacting the shifts needed for diversity and inclusion.
We commit to listen, to learn, to be open to constructive critique along the way.

We welcome you holding us accountable for our actions.

With our full commitment,
The Board and Staff of Stratford City Centre Business Improvement Association
Chair, Rob Russell, Scottish Shop
Vice Chair, Pamela Coneybeare, La Osa
Treasurer, Laura Hilton, Royal Bank
Secretary, Anne Campion, revel
Heather Martin, Stratford Festival
James Hough, The Pulp
Rob Wigan, Revival House
Elsa Fahreus, illume Wellness Spa
City Councillor, Danielle Ingram

General Manager, Rebecca Scott
Membership Liason, Kim Griffiths
Administrator, Christina Phillips

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