Statement from the Quiet Lightning Board of Directors
First and foremost: Quiet Lightning stands with the Black Lives Matter movement against all forms of racism and violence against Queer, Trans, Black, and Indigenous People; and all People of Color.
Since our inception as a reading series in December 2009, we have always sought to cast the widest possible net in terms of the authors and curators we bring in. Our thinking has always been: the more voices we have, the stronger our community is and the better our shows will be. We thought that if we kept our open submission process anonymous, and partnered with a diverse array of organizations, our community would be representative of the larger Bay Area community. Although our demographics do, in some ways, mirror the demographic composition of the Bay Area, the demographics of our board do not.
If we are too white as a board, we are too white as an organization. We recognize that if we want Black writers, Indigenous writers, queer and trans writers, and writers of color to feel at home in our community – and for our community to truly be as inclusive and diverse as we set out to be – we need to have representation at our core: BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ board members and curators.
With this in mind, we are excited to announce a few new initiatives:
1. Disruptors, prioritizing BIPOC and LGBTQIA+
Last year (2019), we piloted a program called QL Disruptors – those who are selected join our board of directors for one year, receiving voting powers and curating one of our shows.
We have recently brought on a new round of Disruptors. This year we prioritized BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ applicants, and the four people we selected – we encourage you to get to know them! – will have an immediate voice in helping us shape the future of Quiet Lightning.
2. Restructuring our Board of Directors
Effective immediately, our board will consist of two tiers: Acting and Legacy.
Legacy: Anyone who has ever served on the QL board, as a Disruptor or otherwise, who would like to stay engaged in the process of shaping the organization, can join the legacy board indefinitely (unless they resign or are voted off by the rest of the board). The legacy board – while invited to attend all of our meetings and give feedback and advice – will have a total of 4 votes. Each year these votes will be determined by lottery.
Acting: The acting board will consist of 9 votes: the 4 new Disruptors, 4 Legacy votes, and our executive director. In this way, we hope to radically and swiftly change the power dynamics of our board while also providing capacity for those who wish to remain engaged.
3. New showcase series
We are launching a new showcase series to amplify BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ authors. We anticipate this being a quarterly series beginning in January 2021, which will give our new round of Disruptors and acting board time to properly set it up. Quiet Lightning pays all of our participating authors, artists, curators and designers, and to make sure we have the proper funding for this new series, we will be scaling back production of our flagship mixtapes from bimonthly to quarterly.
We recognize this is only a beginning, that these initiatives will evolve with Quiet Lightning over the coming years. We hope you are inspired to participate in the reshaping of our organization, through feedback and by applying to be a future Disruptor.
Thanks for being part of our community, and for growing with us. Please don’t hesitate to reach out for any reason at all.