What We're Learning

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. 

Our consultants at Imagine Deliver drew out the following themes from that feedback, which led us to decide to pause MayDay:

  • South Minneapolis is missing a centralized hub for trans/queer artists and artists of color
  • The Avalon Theatre could act as an oasis for those artists
  • MayDay must run on community abundance, not a sense of urgency 
  • Support of IBPOC and trans/queer communities must be an organizational commitment, not an individual effort 
  • Artists feel pushed out by HOBT gatekeepers 

We also want to share what we’ve been learning the past two years about the ways whiteness shows up at HOBT and in the MayDay process. Though the first Sunday in May might look like a wildly diverse celebration, it has usually been at the expense of authentic relationships and inclusion with non-white communities. We are choosing to listen to and prioritize the lived experiences of IBPOC artists who tell us that they have felt marginalized by HOBT’s MayDay process. You can read much more about that work here. 

This feedback tells us that we have important work to do to respond to the needs of our community and more deeply live out our commitment to an accessible and equitable MayDay. It became very clear that we cannot do the work of redesigning MayDay AND producing MayDay in 2020. 

Please know, the decision to pause MayDay was made out of deep love and care for the legacy of MayDay; for the incredible ways, artists and community have created and celebrated together, with the leadership and midwifery of longtime MayDay Artistic Director, Sandy Spieler.  

We believe the very best way to ensure the future of MayDay is to take a year off to pause, redesign, and return in 2021 more deeply rooted in community, equity, and resilience. 

Community Insights Report

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.

A More Equitable MayDay

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.