CAFKA (Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener + Area) stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and the tens of thousands of Waterloo Region residents who marched through Downtown Kitchener on June 3, 2020, to demand an end to police violence against Black people.

CAFKA’s mission is to bring contemporary art outside the gallery so that it becomes accessible to everyone in Waterloo Region. CAFKA’s biennial, Big Ideas lectures, and other programs must include equity-seeking concerns, particularly those of Black and Indigenous communities. To meet this goal, board members are examining ways in which CAFKA has failed to work against white supremacy.

CAFKA has developed an action plan outlining its commitment to BIPOC artists, community members, and volunteers. This plan acknowledges that BIPOC communities overlap with the LGBTQIA2S+ and disability communities, to whom CAFKA is also accountable. A brief summary of the action plan follows. This action plan, which will continue evolving, is available below. 

CAFKA encourages its supporters to familiarize themselves with the calls to action of Black Lives Matter–Waterloo Region and ACB Network–Waterloo Region; and to support the local, Black-owned businesses and organizations listed here:

In approval, this statement is supported by:

CAFKA’s board of directors:

Ellie Anglin, Marketing Committee chair

Fitsum Areguy

Tara Cooper

Mélika Hashemi, Education Committee chair

Žana Kozomora

Jessie Lacayo, Treasurer

Tom Nagy, Vice-Chair

Michelle Purchase, Board Chair

Sharl G. Smith, Programming Committee chair

Conan Stark

Lauren Weinberg, Secretary

As well as:
Glodeane Brown, CAFKA Programming and Operations Coordinator

Action Plan

  • What concrete actions is CAFKA taking to become more inclusive and accessible?

    • CAFKA actively recruits BIPOC and LGBTQIA2S+ individuals, and people with disabilities to our board, staff, and volunteer team, and is bringing their voices and efforts to the forefront of the decision-making process.

    • CAFKA will ensure future biennials include at least 30% BIPOC artists to reflect the demographics of Waterloo Region, as well as LGBTQIA2S+ artists and artists with disabilities. In 2019, CAFKA changed the biennial application process to foster both diversity and local relevance. CAFKA will increase its outreach to Black artists, who have historically been neglected in the biennial.

    • CAFKA ensures biennials and other programs are wheelchair-accessible, and will increase our programs’ accessibility to artists and community members with other disabilities. 

    • In addition to working with professional artists, CAFKA will increase collaborations with local residents and arts organizations representing groups who are marginalized, and sustain these relationships over the long term. 

    • CAFKA will never ask professionals to consult on anti-racism for free; they will always be fairly compensated.

    • CAFKA will always reject art that promotes white supremacy and other forms of marginalization (including but not limited to racism, anti-Indigeneity, sexism, classism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism). 

    • CAFKA is developing an anti-racist code of conduct and an anti-harassment policy to ensure a safe environment for staff, artists, audience members, volunteers, and board and committee members.

  • How will CAFKA hold itself accountable to this Action Plan? 

    • CAFKA will publicly share yearly audits evaluating whether it has met its inclusivity goals, and review this Action Plan at least once a year to ensure it addresses the needs of the community.