2019 Community Update: HOBT’s MayDay Is Taking a Year Off
In 2019, we, the HOBT Leadership Team, have heard from more than 500 community members and artists about their dreams for the future of HOBT’s MayDay. Themes drawn from this feedback support what we have known for years but have only now documented: MayDay in its current form is not only unsustainable financially and logistically, the creation process systematically marginalizes and appropriates the work of artists of color. This cannot be allowed to continue.
The HOBT Leadership Team has decided that taking time off from producing MayDay to pause and redesign MayDay is the best way to come back with a stronger, more equitable MayDay in the future.
We know that for some, this is difficult news to hear. We did not come to this decision lightly. In the coming year, HOBT can choose either to produce the MayDay celebration that South Minneapolis has grown to know and love, or to invest our time and resources in rebuilding that celebration to equitably and resiliently continue as a valuable institution for future generations. We cannot do both.
In the interest of the long-term value of this MayDay celebration, we choose to rebuild. We choose to live into a new kind of working and creating art together: one that is truly collaborative and opens up new opportunities for transformation by placing our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion at the center and giving power to artists and leaders of color.
MayDay in Metamorphosis
Many of you have asked: How did we come to the decision to take a year off from producing MayDay in 2020?
In April, we embarked on a community engagement process to listen deeply to the community in order to inform next steps for MayDay. We heard from more than 500 folxs in our community who told us: MayDay is a deeply beloved and treasured community celebration, but we have important work to do to create a truly equitable and accessible MayDay.
Click above to see Imagine Deliver's full report on what we learned from the community over our four-month engagement process which led to our decision to pause MayDay in 2020.
Some folks are not sure what HOBT means when we say we have a problem with cultural appropriation, microaggressions, and a MayDay process that marginalizes artists of color. Click here to learn more.
Announcing the Inaugural MayDay Council
HOBT and Free Black Dirt are thrilled to announce the inaugural MayDay Council (MDC). HOBT received more than 40 community nominations, representing a wealth of passion, skill, and energy for the work of creating a more equitable and accessible MayDay. Through a robust community nomination and selection process, 16 artists and community leaders have been invited to serve on the first MayDay Council.
The MDC will partner with HOBT in designing a new approach to the planning and production of future MayDay events based on principles of equity, justice, and collaboration.
The MDC will partner with HOBT in designing a new approach to the planning and production of future MayDay events based on principles of equity, justice, and collaboration. The MDC will be facilitated by Free Black Dirt, Junauda Petrus and Erin Sharkey, together with collaborator Lisa Marie Brimmer. You can read more about Junauda, Erin, and Lisa here.
The MDC & HOBT will be working together to chart a new, more collaborative and inclusive way forward for the MayDay Celebration in 2021. They will also be offering community art engagement that will happen throughout 2020. The MDC will officially convene in early January and will invite the community to attend Tea & Treats sessions every 2nd and last Friday of the month beginning February 28th, to be the first to hear updates and share input with the MayDay Council.
Imagine MayDay Community Engagement: Summer 2019
In the summer of 2019, HOBT’s highest priority was investing in a robust community engagement process to listen deeply to the communities we work with, particularly past and present MayDay artists, artists who have felt left out of the MayDay process, Southside BIPOC artists, queer & nonbinary artists, neighborhood organizations in the Phillips and Powderhorn neighborhoods, and you, someone who cares about MayDay’s future.
This commitment is at the core of a set of goals for HOBT to build an Equity Framework, to decentralize MayDay and to build a more resilient structure for the organization.
January 2019 Announcement
In January, HOBT announced significant reductions to staff and programming. Though significantly diminished in capacity, HOBT remains committed to its vision of building creativity, empathy, and interconnection in its core neighborhoods. HOBT’s tens of thousands of supporters want us to continue our work. We believe transformational change is possible that will lead to a more resilient future organization.
Hundreds of thousands of people have participated in MayDay. It seems no exaggeration to say that a million or more people have been touched by HOBT’s work over 45 years. HOBT has the support to continue impacting communities and the proposed work plan sets the organization on a more resilient path.