Following the launch of the ART Project in August of 2020, the team has been working on a variety of projects, including creating the following set of Guiding Principles. These principles will assist in the WFTDA’s efforts in anti-racism organizational change, as well as guide the recovery from COVID-19 and the future of roller derby within a framework that actively works to dismantle institutional racism and white supremacy.
In the upcoming months, the WFTDA and the ART Project will be coming to you for feedback and to share your thoughts to more fully inform the necessary changes being undertaken by our organization and our sport. We need your input, participation and commitment, and we hope these guiding principles will renew a spark of interest and conversation among our membership.
We invite you to participate with the ART Project, these Guiding Principles, or anything to do with our organizational change, by visiting the ART Project Public Discussion Community at https://community.wftda.org/artproject. The group is open to the public to view, but we ask that you sign up for the WeFTDA Collective in order to participate in online discussions.
ART Project Guiding Principles
The following outlines the principles and practices that will be used to guide all work within the WFTDA. The ART Project and its members recognize that racism is institutional, so the work of the WFTDA must consider antiracism at all levels of operation and in all of its decision-making processes. We suggest the use of these principles to inform the work of the WFTDA, and the ART Project, so that we can continuously center antiracist practices which recognize racism and ideologies of white supremacy as embedded and multilayered. These include, but are not limited to: ideologies of individualism and competition, power (im)balances perfectionism, etc.*
- A commitment to community and community-building.
- Recognize ideologies of competition are rooted in whiteness and minimize the importance of interdependency and community-building.
- Decenter notions of competition which position it as the only conduit for growth of team, community, and individuals.
- Reimagine competition for the WFTDA by centering Member Organizations, and dismantle “global” competitive structures which privilege member leagues in the US and Europe.
- Engage in community building activities that support competition in a regional capacity which increase the accessibility of play regardless of location.
- Shift away from competition models focused on US and western constructs of “success” (e.g. winning at all costs) which center individualism.
- Allow and uplift definitions of competition which center community growth and inclusion of all skaters regardless of ability (e.g. "you’re welcome here as you are and we can build on what you currently have").
- A commitment to inclusion and accessibility.
- Accessibility for all members regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, ability, and so on.
- Inclusion of people who participate for the love of sport, the love of competitive opportunities, the love of the people involved, and any other reason that brings someone to roller derby—without fear of exclusion and discrimination.
- Deconstructing ability and skills-based hierarchy and a commitment to creating a space where skaters of all levels are not only welcome, but are recognized as important members of the community. Transcends and acknowledges nations, borders and cultures by centering the experiences of skaters and member leagues whose lived experiences are often overlooked and underemphasized (e.g. marginalized and multiply-marginalized skaters; member leagues in Latin America, Asia, etc.).
- A commitment to accessibility of information.
- All communications are accessible to all audiences.
- Closed captions, sign language interpreters, interpreters/translators for spoken languages.
- Accessibility will be intentional and not an afterthought.
- Not to be sacrificed in the name of urgency or hierarchy.
- A commitment to addressing harm and violence.
- Acknowledgement of the racist history of the WFTDA, and how that has contributed to the inclusion/exclusion of certain groups of people on the basis of race/ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexuality, ability, and so on.
- Recognition and commitment to dismantling harm and violence at the individual and structural level.
- Creating pathways for harm to be addressed which do not rely on policing or the state.
- Creating systems where individuals, communities, or leagues have the opportunity to be accountable for harm caused and rebuild where necessary.
- Move forward with harm reduction in mind and directly address harm when it occurs.
- A commitment to accountability.
- Approach harm through a transformative justice lens which centers accountability.
- Create consciousness and endorsement of transformative justice practices such as creating safety and intervening in violence, strategies for resistance and healing, and spaces for accountability.
- When actions toward transformative justice fail, the responsibility to continue engagement is reviewed and acted upon in the interest of reducing further harm.
- Understand that education is always a part of justice.
- Commit to upholding the transformation of accountability, even when that includes dismissal or removal.
* White Supremacy Culture Characteristics. From Dismantling Racism: A Workbook for Social Change Groups, by Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun, ChangeWork, 2001 https://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/white-supremacy-culture-characteristics.html
This is a living document that will grow and change as the project continues and as new important discussions are had.
Iris Bigornia / Viris
Britney Bear / Spock
Jarral Boyd / Assault N. Pepa
Danielle Mireles / Dana Skull E.
Facundo Nahuel Huanuco / Wari
Abigail Tjhay / Wasabi
Tracey Hughes / Dreadlocked N. Loaded
May-ek Querales-Mendoza / La Pocha Mostra
Celeste Tortosa / Bella Ciao
Snooky Wong / Karlluna
Voon-Li Chung / Vector
Kimberly Eisen / Dottie Damage
Erica Vanstone / Double H