In my time with the Wild Goose Festival, I learned about the various riders artists would send (e.g. technical riders or hospitality riders) along with their standard contracts, detailing stipulations for their participation beyond fees for service and use of property. We’ve all heard of them, even if not by name. For instance, contractual stipulations that one will only sing with a particular microphone or must have the largest dressing room or the closest room to the stage or towels of a certain thread count or only 5-star hotels or only yellow M&Ms. You get the idea.
Well, today I have decided to compile what I am calling a Consciousness Rider. The way I figure it, people are only going to do better if people of influence expect it of them. The size of the sphere of one’s influence doesn’t matter, only that one use it to advance the best s/he knows to do. So here are my commitments when it comes to participating in public events. If you make at least part of your living in front of an audience, I invite you to join me. I have already distributed it in response to one invitation to speak.
Unless the purpose of the gathering is specifically to problem-solve toward these very ends, I will only participate in gatherings where:
- No less than 30% of the rest of those who present are people of color (across the racial/ethnic spectrum); no less than 50% of those who present are women; no less than 10%, identify as lgbtq. I encourage intentionality be given to the age, faith, disability and national origin demographics in the room as well. The purpose of this is to normalize a gathering dynamic in western culture that is more indicative of the world in which we actually live.
- A similar level of diversity shows up at every stage and on every platform: from the planning to the execution, from the main stage to the plenaries, from the art to books to social media. The purpose for this is to institutionalize one’s commitment to pursuing beloved community.
- Any social identity discussed is represented by someone of that identity. The purpose of this is to make normative people’s right to tell their own stories.
- If the gathering is talking about land in anyway, indigenous people are a part of the conversation. The purpose of this is to give ear to the wisdom long marginalized of those whose relationship with the land has proven itself most sustainable over the longest period of time.
- An articulated intentionality is given to functioning in an eco-friendly manner. The purpose of this is to acknowledge our inability to become our best selves at the expense of the rest of GOD’s good creation.
- Intentionality is given toward establishing a democratic learning environment that honors multiple learning modalities and doesn’t just privilege “the sage on the stage”. The purpose of this is to do what matters in ways that matter.
I am always open to exploring the possibilities of engagement with any community willing to make these commitments. And should that community desire to move this direction, but just don’t know how to begin, I am willing to help.
I won’t stop until all my audiences look more like this.