We are ashamed that the fandom community has historically and systemically ignored, erased and oppressed Black people, and especially Black women and Black femme creators.
By not publicly identifying those who were hurt by the racist, ignorant and unprofessional Tweets that went out from this account, we contributed to this long-standing history of Black erasure and repression. We deeply regret this action and have listened to you. We are taking steps to move forward as an organization to make sure that this never occurs again. Some of these small steps, on our large journey, include:
- Responsible parties are no longer with the Otafest organization
- We contributed donations to two local anti-racism organizations (CommunityWise and Action Dignity) to continue their valuable work in dismantling systemic racism. Further contributions will come based on research and need.
- Internal processes and steps for all staff to undergo training on anti-racism policy and personal behaviour. Our staff code of conduct will be revised to further reflect our commitment to inclusion and anti-racism.
To @BibiCosplays (Abi): What happened to you is inexcusable. The language, tone and passivity taken toward your movement and personal struggle is offensive. We deeply apologize and acknowledge, and own, the pain that these interactions have caused you. You deserve to safely and freely share your art and thoughts with the world.
To @MicaBurton and @Soniabladecos: In a weak attempt to demonstrate allyship, your names were pulled into this discussion unfairly. This was inappropriate, offensive, tokenistic and completely against the values that we as an organization profess to uphold. We failed. For this, we are deeply sorry. You are valuable, talented, exceptional professionals and deserve respect.
Otafest is a 100% volunteer organized community group that has contributed to Calgary’s cultural fabric for over 20 years. This gives us power and this power was used to harm Black creators. Because of this, we owe you all, who trust us and have confidence in us to do the right thing, our deepest and sincerest apologies for the impact of the words used on this platform.
We hear you, we see you, we will do better.