The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (“CARAS”) is a not-for-profit organization and our mandate is to promote and celebrate Canadian artists and their music. CARAS serves as the umbrella organization for the JUNO Awards, the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and MusiCounts, Canada’s music education charity.
As a Canadian cultural organization, it is our responsibility to speak up and ensure that we take an active role in dismantling systemic racism. Over time and without thought and care, issues can fester for so long before they rise to the surface. The reforms we are seeing today in the streets, boardrooms, classrooms, and online spaces are long overdue and we stand in solidarity with the Black community in fighting against racial injustice.
CARAS has been taking the time to reflect on our past and while we have made progress over the last few years, it is not enough; we have to be actively anti-racist.
To improve on our past efforts and ensure impactful and sustainable progress, we have initiated a plan to combat anti-Black racism in our organization. The four areas of focus of our action plan are as follows:
- Ensuring diversity within our Board of Directors and other integral committees such as the Canadian Music Hall of Fame committee and MusiCounts committees.
- Enlist the expertise of a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant to review internal processes including our programs, hiring practices, delegates, and voting juries.
- Assess and evolve the demographics of our current membership and MusiCounts grant recipients through strategic outreach.
- Expand our search to make our Special Awards and MusiCounts Teacher of the Year recipients more diverse and inclusive.
- Continue to champion diverse emerging artists through programs such as our Rising video series, the MusiCounts Scholarship Program and the Allan Slaight JUNO Master Class.
- Create co-membership programs by collaborating with Black-led/serving organizations.
- Source sponsors to fund memberships for BIPOC music community members.
- Foster dialogue with BIPOC music education stakeholders to ensure that MusiCounts Programs are inclusive and accessible to all music education approaches.
- Open the lines of communication across all channels for our membership especially the Black music community to give feedback on our diversity and inclusion plan.
We invite our peers and industry leaders, talent managers, promoters, labels, publishers, marketing teams, venues — to join us by reviewing their hiring practices and inclusion policies as well.
Now it is time for us to come forward and be bold. CARAS is committed to the long-term inclusion and amplification of Black voices and a more equitable industry. We must do better for the BIPOC members of the music community. We welcome you to hold us accountable. We acknowledge the hurt, pain, and frustration of the past and present, but we will work to forge a better future for all.