PuSh apology to Janelle Wong-Moon and Joyce Rosario

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      The PuSh International Performing Arts Festival issued the following statement on December 8:

      The Board of Directors of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival unreservedly apologizes to Joyce Rosario and Janelle Wong-Moon for the handling of their terminations in June 2020 and the subsequent events.

      We acknowledge the harm done to Joyce and Janelle’s careers, financial stability, reputations, and well-being. The disingenuous handling of their terminations, the public messaging about their departures, the incorrect statement attributed to Janelle, the way in which their names were used in the ensuing months without their consent was disrespectful. Regardless of the intentions, there was an absence of care in much of what took place, and it caused unnecessary pain and suffering. In addition, Janelle and Joyce’s significant contributions and achievements were not celebrated, and their departures lacked sensitivity and dignity. For this we are truly sorry.

      We also acknowledge that the terminations had an impact on the wider PuSh community, which was evident in the responses and protestations expressed by artists, donors, former staff and board members. The organisation’s actions were a betrayal of the deep trust PuSh had built throughout its history with artists, stakeholders and the wider artistic community.

      Earlier this year, a subcommittee of the recently elected PuSh Board of Directors entered into a mutually agreed upon process with Janelle and Joyce in an effort to move towards resetting the relationship between the institution and these two former employees. We, the current Board, saw these dialogues as part of the responsibility to both address past wrongs, but also set forward the practices of care and right relations that are needed for moving forward as an institution connected to a diverse community. We express deep gratitude to Janelle and Joyce for their willingness to go through this difficult process with us.

      In thinking to the future of PuSh, its operational practices and organizational structure, the board and staff are continuing to actively work to identify and address harmful institutional practices. We are collectively creating new systems and ways of working that are anti-racist and that centre values of equity, diversity and inclusion. We thank our community of supporters for holding the space needed to arrive at sharing this apology.

      PuSh Board of Directors:
      Carmen Aguirre | Camyar Chai | Justine Chambers | Lisa Cooke Ravensbergen
      Sadira Rodrigues | Camilla Tibbs | Johnny Wu

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