Fresno’s Rogue Festival has been offering DIY, off-the-beaten-path performance in Fresno for 20 years. Our primary goal has always been to connect art, artists and audiences in the center of California, inspiring creativity, curiosity and new experiences in our community. For years, countless artists, volunteers, staff members, sponsors, and board members have endeavored to make Rogue Festival a welcoming, inclusive, and supportive experience.
As the events of 2020 and 2021 have unfolded, however, it is clear that depending upon a code of conduct and the friendly intentions of our organization is not enough to ensure that our festival spaces are nurturing and welcoming to all. We must also acknowledge that systemic and cultural racism, sexism, and bias have likely impacted our community, particularly Black people, indigenous people, people of color, women, LGBTQIA+ people, and people with disabilities.
The Rogue Festival Board of Directors and producers wish to be proactive in critically examining our Festival with a goal of creating a collaborative, anti-racist and culturally competent Festival. As such, they have initiated a year-long Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) audit to assess our Festival’s current systems. The results of the audit will then inform the creation of the following:
- A full DEIA statement outlining the results of the audit and defining our goals and values moving forward.
- Thorough list of community agreements
- A 5-year DEIA plan with observable, measurable targets for each year in improving and enhancing our Festival with regard to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility.
The DEIA Audit will include various surveys, open forums, data collection, and feedback opportunities for our community regarding the Rogue Festival, its programs and outreach, and its inclusivity in recent years.
To advise us in this work will be a panel of performers, volunteers, staff, audiences, and consultants including people from BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities whose voices will be essential to creating a truly transformative Festival in the long-run.
We anticipate the audit and publication of the 5-year DEIA plan to take about 12-15 months to complete. Reports on our progress in this work will come every 4 months or so. While we deeply feel the urgency of this work in our community, we also want to ensure it is done well, deliberatively, with sensitivity, and including all of the perspectives needed to create effective and lasting change.
Rogue performers, volunteers, and audiences – whether current or past – interested in participating in this journey are encouraged to be in touch with producer Heather Parish at email@example.com.