NYC DAILY REPORTS and Documents | NYC iPNB meeting page
Presented at the iPNB meeting in NYC Sept. 19-21, 2003
STATEMENT ON INCLUSION OF THE DISENFRANCHISED
We are a broad group of Pacifica listeners, staff and concerned activists from every signal area who have dedicated our lives to the fight for justice, liberation, and self-determination for all peoples. We are of African, Indigenous, Latino, Chicano, Asian, Arab and European descent. We are women and men, queer and straight, young and old, differently abled and able-bodied. Some of us have been fighting for the transformation of Pacifica for over a decade, others just joined the struggle recently. Most of us were involved in the struggle to free Pacifica from the corporate, neoliberal, Democratic Party usurpers who snatched and almost destroyed this network - a struggle that was victorious, thanks to the dedication of thousands of listeners and staff nationwide.
Fifteen months ago, in the wake of that remarkable people's victory, a similarly broad, diverse group of Pacifica activists -- including some of us here today -- mounted a three-day effort before one of these board meetings to dialogue, brainstorm and write a report on inequality and exclusion of racially and nationally disenfranchised people by the network. That report included this statement: "Throughout our dialogues, we heard countless stories of producers of color who were rejected for jobs and programs, disrespected, harassed, fired and banned; we heard of tokenistic gestures and pigeonholing; we heard of nonexistent or underfunded training programs for youth of color; we heard of insensitive white managers and narrow, white-focused programming that excluded or minimized coverage of poor communities of color. ŠThroughout Pacifica, we must create breakthroughs that will stimulate dialogue, consciousness-raising and ACTION on these issues." The report included concrete steps in the areas of education, dialogue, goals, guidelines, and evaluation - all aimed at turning rhetoric into reality. We were pleased when this board embraced the group's recommendations and promised to implement them.
But since then, that report has collected dust and its guidelines have gone unenforced. Worse, some of our former allies in the Pacifica struggle have fought tooth and nail to obstruct the adoption of bylaws measures to mandate the inclusion of voices from communities which Pacifica's mission calls on us to address: poor and working class people, the globally dispossessed, people of color, prisoners, immigrants, women, lesbians/gay men/bisexuals/transgendered people, and people with disabilities.
We have watched with increasing dismay as officers of this board and members with legal training have used their positions and skills to manipulate and block democratic processes that could advance such efforts at inclusion, sometimes even violating the very guidelines and legal agreements that they themselves made. We have been outraged as the new leadership of this institution has used secretive and undemocratic tactics, and erected top-down, single-executive hierarchies, including for supervising elections, which marginalize grassroots community involvement - precisely what we all fought so hard against in the old system. We have witnessed grotesque attacks and demonization of activists who have spoken out against these tactics.
We say enough! We will not sit idly another minute while this board continues wasting time with tedious technicalities and legalistic hairsplitting, while excluding participation by the listeners and staff who are Pacifica's life-blood, and preventing discussion of vital issues that affect the future of the network.
Therefore, we have assembled here to demand the following from this interim Pacifica National Board:
1. The Pacifica Race and Nationality Guidelines be made official policy of the Foundation, and that the policy be enforced immediately, except where prevented by legal restrictions.
2. The immediate establishment of a National Commission on Affirmative Action and Equality, which would include both Pacifica activists and respected academic and community leaders, to develop a detailed action plan on issues of inclusion throughout the network.
3. The immediate adoption of a self-affirming procedure permitting waivers of contribution and volunteer requirements for listeners with economic and other hardships who seek to become voting members.
4. The immediate establishment of election advisory councils to the Local Election Supervisors in the five signal areas -- representing the full range of opinions and positions, including at least 50% women and 50% people of color -- that would observe and report to the National Board on the fairness of the elections election process.
5. The immediate implementation of the hard-fought provision in the new bylaws REQUIRING that all Pacifica meetings be held in fully accessible facilities, and a commitment to consult with groups representing people with disabilities when choosing venues.
6. A commitment by this board to include in the Fiscal Year 2004 budget serious funding and a priority of raising more funds to expand training programs at all five stations which give preference to people of color, women, and youth.
7. A resolution by this board supporting adoption by the next board, after review by a qualified civil rights attorney, of a bylaws amendment creating meaningful affirmative action for disenfranchised groups in the election of local and national boards.
8. The placement of issues of inclusion and affirmative action at the top of this board's agenda for today's meeting, with significant time for public comment.
Your expressed commitment to Pacifica's mission, and to the communities who put you where you are today, demands that you do no less.
Actions, not words! EQUAL JUSTICE NOW!
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