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Oaklash's Cultural
Equity Framework

Oaklash is committed to enacting an equitable vision of racial, ethnic, gender, class, and ability empowerment. We aim to stay true to the history of Oakland as a home to creative renaissance rooted in diversity by amplifying and supporting the whole of its queer art community, emphasizing the need for investment in the arts as a means to dismantle/combat systemic racism, growing economic disparities, and the Bay Area's housing crisis. To that end, we prioritize and incorporate the following values into our actions at both the organizational and directorial levels. Below each value are the actions that we endeavor to take for our programs and general operations in 2024.

equity:Elevating, highlighting, and empowering marginalized populations who have been historically oppressed and/or overlooked. Racial equity in particular means not only  the removal of all obstacles that hinder Black, Indigenous, and POC community members from achieving the safety, comfort, resources, opportunities, and success they deserve due to systemic racism, but also equipping these artists with the means and support to overcome the its repercussions and its widespread consequences and discriminatory practices.

​Our 2024 Commitment:

  • Our annual festival’s curatorial committee will be chosen from within community and instructed to make decisions on the basis of our mission & equity statement

  • 100% of performers and artists will be paid

  • We will never charge application fees & we will create simplified application forms

DIVERSITY:Reflecting the rich demographic makeup of Oakland and the Bay Area in our performers, audiences, organizers, and leadership.

​Our 2024 Commitment:

  • Majority of board leadership positions to be held by POC

  • Majority of curatorial committee and selected performers to be POC

  • We will provide training and guidance for queer and trans POC to step into leadership positions within our organization

  • We will not tolerate discriminatory or culturally appropriative performances

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*Due to lack of self-identification, numbers from 2018-2020 are approximate. Demographic self-identification will be part of all 2024 application forms.

Accessibility:Enabling people of all abilities to enjoy queer arts programming, and continuously working to improve accommodations that ensure that disabled people are actively included and safe. 

​Our 2024 Commitment:

  • ASL interpretation available for public panels and main stage performances

  • Closed captioning on all pre-recorded videos displayed at our events

  • All performances at our festival will be professionally recorded and made publicly available on an all-ages web platform

  • Operating all our events at ADA accessible venues

  • Event design and logistics prioritizes accessible audience experienc

~ Check out for more information about our accessibility plans throughout our full calendar of programs at Oaklash 2023 ~

HARM REDUCTION:Relying on concepts of conflict management, de-escalation, and substance regulation to create a judgment-free environment of access and safety for all while minimizing the presence of law enforcement.

​Our 2024 Commitment:

  • Designated volunteers trained in administering NARCAN on site

  • Encouraging safe drug & alcohol consumption and community support for inebriated people at our events

  • Hiring private security for all large-scale public events who are trained in sensitization to the needs of QTBIPOC

  • Where law enforcement involves themselves in conflict a member of our Board Hospitality & Safety committee will also be present

Bodily autonomy: Reaffirming the necessity of consent for physical touch and interaction so that everyone may enjoy themselves, programming, and each other.

​Our 2024 Commitment:

  • We will not tolerate physical, verbal, sexual or emotional harassment of any kind 

  • We will ensure COVID safety instructions are clear and maintained consistently throughout the course of our events

Transparency:Communicating the processes, motivations, and results of decisions and actions we take to carry out the vision outlined in this statement.

​Our 2024 Commitment:

  • Annual update on the results, impact, and reach of all of our programs. 

  • Board of directors listed at Board directors set to renew positions every two years.

  • Curatorial committee members listed on 50% turnover of curatorial committee every year

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2023 Expenses - $166,224.png

NOTE: $40,809 operational reserve from 2023 includes restricted grant funds for FY25-26 from the Rainin Family Foundation, The Gerbode Foundation, and The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

Anti-corporatism:Uplifting the local queer nighlife economy & community-led businesses and standing against the corporatization, sanitization, and homogenization of queer celebrations and affairs.

​Our 2024 Commitment:

  • Defined parameters of behavior for engaging with corporate sponsors

  • Board ethics review of each year’s sponsor package

  • We will not alter our spaces to conform to Corporate American standards of moral practice

  • Minimal air time for corporate speakers

EVOLUTION:Continually growing as individuals and as an organization by evaluating, critiquing, and improving on how we carry out the vision outlined in this statement.

​Our 2024 Commitment:

  • Annual review of programmatic goals and commitment to equity

  • Annual review of our curatorial process

  • Feedback form and community debrief after each festival

  • Always open to hearing from attendees at

Concessions: Oaklash is a young organization and as such we recognize that there is much to learn in realizing our vision of a diverse, resourced and respected queer arts community in Oakland and the Bay Area as a whole. There is also much work to be done to create equity for Black, Indigenous, Latinx and API performers, as well as the communities and people that support them. Mutual-Aid, Peer-2-Peer support, Creative & Professional development programming, fully accessible, family-friendly and sober events, the expansion of the availability of interpreter and harm-reduction services at these events, and so much more are all within the scope of our plans for the best Oaklash we can build. We acknowledge that Oaklash will not single-handedly establish racial equity across the Bay's performance community; however, with eyes and action toward that future, we are proud of where our improvement begins

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