BATL’s Commitment to Anti-Racism, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging.

Updated: August 2021

Anti-Racism, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging is an ongoing commitment here at BATL. We’ve made some great progress over the past year, but we know this is a lifelong journey and we have lots of learning and changes yet to do. As we have promised, here is a regular update on our progress and activities:

We launched our internal Anti-Racism, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Committee in May 2021, led by our Chief Talent & Culture Officer with 5 members of the Venue Support Team paired with 5 venue GMs. The primary areas of focus will be Staff Training, Policies & Procedures, League, Public Statements & Outreach, and Diversity Representation amongst staff and business partners.

Ongoing training and issues awareness: Venue Support & GM staff learnings and discussions were centered around Anti-Racism and Allyship, as well as productive conflict management. We are building the training program for our Coaches and Floor Managers. To expand our knowledge of the history, perspectives, and issues facing Aboriginal Peoples in North America, members of our Committee are currently enrolled in the Indigenous Canada course offered by University of Alberta. The Committee also attended the LinkedIn Learning course Out and Proud: Approaching LGBT Issues in the Workplace. 

LGBTQ+ Pride: During Pride month this June we acknowledged our LGBTQ+ community members. This included training for all venue staff, informing League members of our initiatives, safe space Progress Pride stickers on our doors, year round banners in our venues, , and hosted a “Throw With Pride” tournament at our BATL Winston-Salem venue in North Carolina.

Accessibility: We are conducting an internal accessibility audit of all venues and our head office which will be followed by recommendations and implementation of best practices where feasible. We recently reprogrammed our BATL booking system’s interface to use colours which are distinguishable by those who are colour-blind.

Music: Our revamped venue music playlist has received much positive feedback from staff and guests! We reviewed the song selections to better represent women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ artists. We’ve expanded the eras and genres of music to include more rap, hip-hop, latin, country, dance, and pop. Sexist, LGBTQ-phobic, racist, and otherwise discriminatory lyrics are conscientiously avoided and a reporting process is in place in case a song missed this filter. 

We are proud of the progress our team and our community has made to date, while acknowledging that there is much still to do.

February 2020 Update

At BATL, we continue to be committed to practices which focus on diversity, inclusion and belonging.

We are working to create an actively anti-racist and anti-discriminatory environment with the goal to provide an equitable and welcoming experience for our BIPOC, female, and LGBTQ staff, guests, leaguers, and business partners.

Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Strategic Plan

Our overall anti-racism, diversity, inclusion, and belonging strategic plan for 2021 was presented to HQ and GM staff, ensuring understanding and collaboration of all team members, and providing insight into upcoming initiatives. As our venue and Customer Service staff return from layoff, this presentation will serve as an introductory element to our anti-racism, diversity, inclusion, and belonging training.

Baseline Training in Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Each HQ and GM employee watched on their own the LinkedIn Learning path of 7 videos titled "Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging for All". Each employee provided their insights and other notes regarding the content as it applies to BATL. We then met in small groups after each video, reviewing the concepts presented as well as actively participating in an open discussion facilitated by our Chief Talent & Culture Officer, including ideating how we can apply the learnings to improve BATL staff- and customer experience.

As of Feb 17, 95% of our HQ and venue GM staff have completed this baseline training, providing a common understanding of concepts, a shared language to discuss possible issues, and the skills to support our returning venue and Customer Service teams.

We are actively preparing the content to roll out to our venue & Customer Service teams as they are recalled from layoff. We are at only 20% of our pre-COVID staffing levels, and at time of writing all venues in Canada are closed due to lockdown. We are also focused on sourcing and screening additional free training content for our continuing program.

Some positive responses from our staff:
The training program has opened my eyes, increasing my understanding and awareness on a variety of issues, including micro-aggressions. I'm definitely more cognizant of my words and actions, whether in verbal or written form.

ALI S

The training was enlightening and really helped in the way I communicate with others, both in work and in my daily life, and my staff definitely got a lot out of it as well.

KAYLEY G

These are things I practice in my own personal life and family life, but have never seen as steps in a corporate, company or team practice. Inclusion is all about cultivation, which means to me, making a daily conscious effort toward building that culture.

CHRIS O

This training helped me to see my team in a different light, and to reflect on how I lead them.

JENNA G

I love that BATL is taking a hands-on approach with training, not just telling people to watch videos and leave it at that. It is making us more aware, to look at what we might be doing without realizing it, those unconscious biases, and trying to correct them.

ALEX B

Continuing education and development is one of the great things at BATL. The [Anti-Racism, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging] courses are very informative, and practical. This kind of training will make us better individually as well as as a company.

ANIL C

Vendors/Partners: Black-owned Businesses and Stated BLM/DIBs Commitments

We will proactively seek out Black-owned business partners where possible. We have made it our standard process when assessing new vendors/partners to inquire about their ownership, as well as their anti-racism, diversity, and inclusion practises as a company. Additionally, we have completed a review of our existing vendors' ownership and their commitment to anti-racism. Our goal is to support more Black-owned businesses, as well as businesses with Indigenous, Person of Colour, female, and LGBTQ -identified ownership.

In honour of Black History Month and beyond, we would like to promote the following helpful resources for each of us to personally support Black-owned businesses. If you have other suggestions, please let us know so we can add to our list!
https://secondstorypress.ca/wavemaker/2020/6/12/black-and-indigenous-owned-bookstores-in-canada-and-the-usa (Bookstores in Canada and USA - some of whom offer delivery - and including Indigenous-owned)

Learning Library

Our staff-contributed digital learning library is growing, providing user-submitted, annotated recommendations for anti-racism, diversity, and inclusion content that is either purpose-made for instruction, or provides insight into the lived experience of marginalized people.

Preferred Pronouns

In support and recognition of gender diversity, several of our staff have elected to include their preferred pronouns in their BATL email signature and/or LinkedIn profile.

League

In addition to introducing a League Code of Conduct and incident reporting process, our BATL League Oath has been rewritten to be gender neutral, better reflecting our league focus on community, people, and competition, while still retaining the energy and phrasing from the original Oath. We’ve already had a very positive response from many leaguers.
Remember times of old,
And legends that were told,
Of family gathered ‘round
As champions were crowned,
We honour them this day
And pray our axe to stay.

Moving Forward

Our focus remains on building an ongoing training program for our team, continued commitment to anti-racism and elimination of bias in our processes and interactions, increasing our staff diversity, and always having an inclusive mindset to foster a sense of belonging for all of our employees and guests, present and future.

November 2020 Update

At BATL we are committed to developing anti-racism and inclusion practices as we work to create a more welcoming and anti-racist environment for our BIPOC, female, and LGBTQ staff, guests, leaguers, and business partners.

During this time of COVID, we have begun by focusing on the most achievable goals including building a common understanding among our staff.

Here is an update on our progress. Anti-racism, diversity, inclusion, and belonging have become a filter applied through each process and decision in our company moving forward, not just for the moment.
axe throwing decoration

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