As producers of the BUKU Music + Art Project, we’ve been given the joy of curating a live experience where a diverse makeup of fans from all over the country join to celebrate the progressive and vibrant subculture of New Orleans.
With that privilege comes a responsibility to 1) foster an actively diverse, equitable, inclusive and anti-discriminatory environment geared toward advancing social justice; 2) reduce the environmental impact of our events and adapt our operations toward science-based sustainability; and 3) support and uplift New Orleans and the neighboring communities through philanthropy, solidarity and community engagement.
There is work to do, it will be a never-ending practice, and we are ready to do it.
The following are initial measures we plan to take and goals to strive for:
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
- Recruit and work with career service offices at Xavier, Dillard, Delgado, regional HBCUs, local youth community organizations and local equity-based high schools to create a pipeline for Black and diverse talent to work paid positions at the festival and then advance within our organization and the industry
- Implement policies for sourcing & hiring vendors with Black & diverse ownership and those who employ best practices for social responsibility
- Emphasize diversity and hiring-local across all festival departments (e.g., production & ops, safety, PR, content creators, media, art, merch, etc.)
- Increase the amount of Black- and diverse-led food and craft vendors on-site
- Continue striving to celebrate musical and visual artists who identify as Black, LGBTQIAA+ and women when curating the music and art lineup
- Facilitate trainings for full time staff and department heads teaching anti-racism, de-escalation, implicit bias, cultural sensitivity & other relevant subjects
- Use our social media to celebrate diversity and employ inclusive practices through the types of photos we share, the vocabulary we use and the content we promote
- Improve on-site safe-space and anti-harassment measures, ADA services and security & guest services plans to perpetuate DE&I
- Give full-time staff paid days off for self-learning projects, voting, volunteering, community-facing programming, activism and mental-health days
- Monitor and record the festival’s power draw, water usage, and waste production to set reduction targets for future shows
- Improve on-site recycling systems and implement a composting program
- Minimize, and eventually eliminate, single-use products on-site
- Seek out vendors, suppliers, and partners who share a commitment to environmental sustainability
- Continue to provide time, money & resources to the student-artists of Upbeat Academy; use our relationships to increase job placement services and connections to the music industry; work to diversify the Board
- Identify organizations that align with our values and want to work with us, discuss their goals with them, and establish a long-term symbiotic relationship in solidarity with them through consistent and thoughtful action
- Increase presence of NPOs, local community groups and educational opportunities on-site
- Execute quarterly Take Action Project campaigns through donations and volunteer actions benefitting various social & environmental justice organizations
- Create a “ticket bank” providing free BUKU passes to local NPOs to give to low income fans within their community
- Use our social media channels to support various philanthropic initiatives and emergency relief funds