April 19, 2021: In response to an ill-considered, offensive, and disrespectful public engagement on social media by a member of our board on April 16, 2021, the Worcester County Poetry Association is embarking on a strategic pause in programs and activities to begin our crucial work in developing a diversity, equity, and inclusion action plan. We can, and must, do better in engaging, including, promoting, and amplifying the voices of all members of our diverse community, particularly BIPOC, as creatives, collaborators, and audiences.
The WCPA Board has voted to immediately pause our programming for a minimum of three months so that we can reevaluate our practices, policies, and programs in a sustained and meaningful way. The WCPA intends to embark on a path of exploration to identify how to build the core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion into all our activities, as well as how to model those values as we advance our mission. We will be engaging in a professional evaluation by a third-party consultant experienced in assessing and facilitating diversity, equity, and inclusion plans to better engage diverse creatives in our programming, membership, and leadership.
We look forward to engaging in further discussions about combating inequity and building community through poetry. Please stay tuned for more information about concrete steps we will take in this effort, which will be ongoing and extend beyond this pause. We will communicate actions for which we will be transparent and accountable as an organization as they are developed during our evaluation process. Thank you again for your passion for poetry, your past service to the WCPA, and your commitment to making Worcester an inclusive and welcoming space for all.