Statement on Inclusion and Equity
When the Loft was founded in 1974, our primary objective was to be a haven for readers and writers. In the decades that have passed, we've had to rethink what our responsibility as such means. For many years, we've dedicated ourselves to being equitable and inclusive across all of our classes, events, festivals, and conferences.
Our efforts include Equilibrium, our spoken word series that focuses on spoken word artists of color and Indigenous spoken word artists; our class created by, created for, and taught by writers of color and Indigenous writers; Mirrors and Windows, our mentorship program intended to encourage and support writers of color to write for children and young adults; training for our teaching artists on how to incorporate anti-racist tactics in their classrooms; collaborations with organizations that serve culturally specific groups; and a concerted effort to showcase artists of color and Indigenous artists as mentors, judges, writer/performers, and teaching artists, among others.
We have much more to do. More recently, the Loft has committed to become an actively anti-racist organization. While we know how important it is to make our intention known, we also recognize a much bigger truth: intention does not equal impact. We cannot speak being anti-racist into being; we need to reinforce the bones of our organization with anti-racist action points.
That's what we're working on now. With the hire of our brilliant incoming executive director, Arleta Little, we're positioned to take stock and put meaningful tactics into action to reach our goals of equity and inclusion. And we understand how important accountability is, which is why we'll be updating this page by May 1, 2022, with a list of the ways we plan to implement said tactics.
Trust is earned. As a major player in the Twin Cities' literary scene, we understand how important it is that our community can trust us—how important it is that we constantly strive to earn that trust. Our priority is still to be a haven—a truly safe and supportive environment—for every person, be they part of our local, national, or global community.
We encourage any feedback on how we can better serve our constituents and welcome in new voices. Because feedback of this nature is critical to our organization as a whole, we want to be sure to review it as a staff instead of having one point person respond individually. Please know if you don't get a response, it's because we're having a larger discussion on how your feedback will inform our work.
(updated Dec 15, 2021)