Proposed Resolution on Race
& Nationality at Pacifica
DAILY REPORTS and Documents
From: Bob Lederer
Friends - Feel free to circulate this widely and either post or send me feedback. Please note this is NOT a by-laws proposal, but rather a proposed resolution for the Interim Pacifica National Board.
The following tentative proposal was developed by an ad hoc, racially diverse group of producers and listeners from KPFK and WBAI (see list below) during the Interim Pacifica National Board meeting in Los Angeles in March. Besides our concern about the long-term problems at Pacifica, we were most immediately inspired by the presentations of several African American and Latino producers who had been fired and banned over the years at KPFK. The resolution and its rationale were very briefly presented by one of the co-authors (John Riley, a WBAI listener activist) during the Board meeting, but the Board did not have time for discussion. Leslie Cagan said at the time that this item would be deferred to the next meeting. It has now been scheduled as an agenda item at the upcoming Interim Board meeting in Berkeley, on June 22 from 5:00-5:45 pm.
This is an evolving document that needs input from a broader range of people. Anyone with suggestions can send them to Bob Lederer, WBAI producer, at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will forward them to the other coauthors and consultants. I will be attending the Pacifica Now! Conference immediately before the Board meeting in Berkeley, and will be part of a working committee there to discuss these issues and refine/supplement the recommendations for the I-PNB. Also, during the March meeting, some of us briefly discussed this matter with Pacifica's Human Resources Director, Joyce Snowden, who expressed strong interest, so I have sent her a copy and welcome her comments as well.
Let me emphasize point #9, that similar policy documents should be drafted by those most knowledgeable about the parallel issues of empowerment/inclusion concerning women; lesbians/gay men/bisexuals/transgendered; and disabled people. That is to say, it is critical that Pacifica direct focused attention to developing specific policies addressing all of these disenfranchised communities. We hope the Board will act as a catalyst to help form additional working groups to draft such documents.
Co-authors: Aniruddha Das (WBAI producer), Bob Lederer (WBAI producer), Anthony Mackall (WBAI LAB), John Riley (WBAI listener activist), Mimi Rosenberg (WBAI producer), Mark Sanborne (WBAI listener activist)
Others consulted about the issues (who may or may not agree with all of this text): Rashidah Ismaili Abubaka (WBAI LAB), Siuhin Lee (former WBAI and KPFK producer), John Martinez (KPFK fired/banned producer), Fred Nguyen (WBAI listener activist), Bernard White (WBAI Program Director), Ron Wilkins (KPFK fired/banned producer), Michael Zinzin (KPFK listener activist), and others.
PROPOSED I-PNB RESOLUTION ON RACE AND NATIONALITY ISSUES AT PACIFICA
We appreciate the commitment expressed by this Interim National Board to work toward a new Pacifica that is fully inclusive of all races and nationalities in the five signal areas, in keeping with the Foundation's mission to foster understanding between peoples. Given the long history of racial and nationality inequities both in the society at large and within this radio network, we believe that it is crucial for the Board to adopt and implement an unequivocal policy setting forth specific policies and goals that will translate this commitment into concrete steps going forward. Therefore we propose that the Board adopt the following resolution at the current meeting:
The Interim Pacifica National Board commits the Foundation to work towards a policy of equity on the basis of race and nationality. This should be reflected in its internal staffing and functioning as well as in its programming - including its national image and voice. Specifically:
1. The Foundation will establish as a minimum standard/goal a racial and nationality composition of its staff that approximates the demographics of each signal area (for local stations) and of the nation (for the national office). This includes a commitment to the energetic practice of affirmative action in its staff search, recruitment, hiring and promotion policies, as well as with contracted and subcontracted work, by actively seeking out individuals from disenfranchised groups who are committed to progressive politics.
2. All committees at all levels of the Foundation, particularly hiring/search and programming committees, must incorporate from their inception significant numbers - including at the leadership level -- of people of color committed to progressive politics.
3. Local program schedules and national programs should include significant coverage and analysis of the issues and problems of disenfranchised communities, particularly people of color and immigrants. Similarly, focus should be placed on creative initiatives devised by those communities which are grossly underreported elsewhere. To the maximum extent possible, such programs should be produced by individuals and collectives from the communities themselves.
4. At the station and national levels, resources should be targeted to increase the involvement of members of disenfranchised groups in Pacifica programming. That means the establishment and funding of apprenticeships, training programs, internships (particularly for youth), and subsidies for transportation and child care for trainees and programmers who need them.
5. Each station's management and the Executive Director shall recruit an affirmative action officer for their respective station/office, who shall monitor compliance with these policies and offer a supplementary channel to any existing mechanism for grievances on issues of race or other areas of discrimination, as well as make recommendations for specific policies to address systemic problems.
6. Evaluations of staff members shall include their commitment to, and implementation of, Pacifica's policies on racial/nationality diversification. In addition, each station and the national office should periodically evaluate its overall implementation of these policies.
7. Given the urgency of racism and anti-immigrant actions in this country today, the national office will work with local station program directors to develop a series of nationally broadcast programs to promote dialogue on the conjuncture of race, nationality and class in the U.S. today and efforts to empower disenfranchised communities.
8. The Interim National Board, acknowledging its own lack of representation of Latinos, Asian-Pacific Islanders and Native Americans, will choose as ex-officio, nonvoting members - in consultation with Local Advisory Boards, staffs and listeners - individuals from each of those three communities with commitments to progressive politics. In the event of any vacancies on this Interim Board, individuals from these groups should be given priority for appointment.
9. The Interim Board will formulate similar policies to insure full representation and coverage by Pacifica of the needs of women; lesbians/gay men/bisexuals/transgendered people; and people with disabilities.
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