I Will Not Perform at iO until Until the Following Demands Are Met

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I Will Not Perform at iO until Until the Following Demands Are Met

This petition had 2,559 supporters


We believe that justice does not equate to punishment. We are not here to punish iO, nor to do the accountability work for iO. And for this reason we are seeking to approach accountability with a transformative justice frame of mind. We believe iO CAN be transformed into a rich communal space. Our goals are to:  

  • Decentralize theater decision making. Distribute power and give more power to BIPOC.
  • Make iO a genuinely inclusive space for QBIPOC and folx of all abilities.

By signing this petition, we pledge not to perform at The iO Theater until the following four items have been completed:

  1. Charna Halpern, co-founder and owner of iO, must publicly acknowledge and apologize for the institutional racism perpetuated at iO as well as her individual history of racism. She must acknowledge the harm this has caused to individuals, communities, and the comedy world as a whole. 
  2. Charna Halpern can no longer be the sole determiner of opportunity within iO. iO must commit to the decentralization of decision making within the theater. iO must create a governing body of paid employees that allows for the distribution of power and equitable decision making. In doing so, iO commits to repair harm caused to Black performers, students, and teachers. 
  3. iO must hire an outside BIPOC Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator by way of a selection committee made up of BIPOC LGBTQIA+ performers and students in the theater.  
  4. iO must commit to a fully revised and decolonized curriculum in order to create a learning environment where Black students can thrive. The creation of this curriculum must be facilitated by instructors and performers approved by a selection committee made up of BIPOC LGBTQIA+ performers and students. Curriculum writers will be compensated monetarily for their work.

Furthermore, iO must lay out a reasonable timeline for the completion of the following items:

  1. iO must commit to the active recruitment of students from underserved and underrepresented communities.  
  2. iO must commit to a thorough investigation and removal of teachers, staff and administrators guilty of any racial violence, cultural appropriation, and abuse towards Black students and performers. These teachers must be replaced by teachers of the BIPOC community. 
  3. iO must commit to an increase in programmatic funding to the DiOversity program. iO must commit to a complete and robust revision of the DiOversity program to significantly increase its BIPOC LGBTQIA+ student body. The revision of this program must include full BIPOC ensembles, BIPOC ensembles in headlining slots, and the hiring of BIPOC teachers. Additionally, the revision of this program will provide a clear path from student to producer/ performer in the theater. The revision of this program will be overseen by the Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator. 


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