(October 1, 2021) – In June of 2020, the Writer’s Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador signed a letter (Creative Sector Solidarity with Black Lives Matter) pledging to support the Black, Indigenous and other People of Colour (BIPOC) community in our province. Since that time, we have debated and discussed how best to achieve this goal. We need BIPOC members of WANL to feel heard and we need BIPOC people in our province to feel empowered to run for our Board of Directors and apply to Juries, Mentorships, and Paid Opportunities to ensure those voices are properly represented.
We know from past experience that this starts with membership. In many ways, the makeup of the membership dictates who is available to run for our board, and the direction and scope that WANL takes. We want to encourage BIPOC writers and artists to join WANL, take advantage of our paid opportunities, and have a voice in the direction our organization takes.
Our goal is to increase BIPOC membership and representation, while providing access to paid opportunities for these artists. We have thus decided that our first step will be to make WANL membership free to any member of the BIPOC community. These are full memberships, with access to all WANL programming and services.
For the next five years, WANL membership will be 100% free for any member of the BIPOC community from October 1, 2021 to October 31, 2026.
But how does it work?
• All BIPOC writers signing up on or after October 1, 2021 will have a valid WANL Membership until October 31, 2026.
• For example – a BIPOC writer joining WANL on October 2, 2021 will have a valid WANL Membership until October 31, 2026. A BIPOC writer joining WANL April 7, 2023 will have a valid WANL Membership until October 31, 2026, as well.
• A BIPOC writer joining WANL within the previous 365 days before October 31, 2026 will still be able to have a free year of WANL Membership, set to expire exactly one year from their sign-up date – the norm with WANL Memberships.
• BIPOC writers can sign up using our membership application form, checking the box noting they are identify as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Colour, and also checking the box in the payment section noting they would like to avail of the free WANL Memberships for BIPOC writers, to ensure our Member Services Coordinator can accurately complete the registration process.
After October 31, 2026, the 2026 Board of Directors will choose whether to continue the program.
We encourage any member to share this message with any resident of the province they feel could benefit from it. We hope that by offering our services free of charge we can foster a community of equal opportunity among our members and the province as a whole. We look forward to hearing your voice.
With heartfelt sincerity,
The WANL Board of Directors and Staff