The 35//50 Initiative

By Heather Close
2 min read | August 31, 2020

On August 10, 2020, an amazing team of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) contributors put forth a call to action to the Calgary Arts community called The 35//50 Initiative. This initiative is a response to the Black Lives Matter movement and asks all Calgary arts organizations to move towards a more equitable performing arts ecology.  We applaud this group and support this initiative. This is our current response, stay tuned for our next steps.


Dear 35//50 Team and fellow Arts Community,

Thank you so much for your hard work towards this crucial call to action.  We are inspired by this sea of change that is happening in our community and are aligned with this initiative.

As an organization that has been dedicated to a form based in Black American culture, born of African American roots, DJD has always recognized ourselves as guests in jazz and have tried to approach our work with respect and reverence to the history and people who have built this form we are dedicated to.  The current civil rights movement has inspired us to look closely at ourselves, to see where we have succeeded, where we have failed, and commit to equitable practices in all aspects of our work. We are dedicated Anti-Racism and Equity Diversity Inclusivity and Accessibility.

We are currently working on our 3-5-year Strategic Plan.  In preparing this important document which will guide DJD over the next years, DJD leaders and our Board will be having very frank and open conversations about how DJD can work toward being a diverse and inclusive organization in all our performance, school, operations, and volunteer roles, including Board leadership. We are excited about taking concrete steps toward these goals and making our commitment public so that others can see and measure our progress along with us.

We look forward to working consultatively with you and others leading the BIPOC conversation and to reporting our progress as we all strive toward true equity and diversity in the Arts in Calgary and beyond.  You have our philosophical commitment today.   Watch as we move our commitment to action in the upcoming months.

In solidarity,

Kimberley Cooper       Kathi Sundstrom         Pam Corbett
Artistic Director           Executive Director      Board Chair


If you have any questions or comments please contact Kimberley Cooper at