At Saturday’s race, a team with members in blackface was allowed to participate despite their refusal to comply with requests by board members and organizers that they remove the make-up. We deeply regret that our inability to respond quickly to this unexpected behavior and come to a consensus about handling this team’s refusal to accommodate requests that the make-up be removed resulted in our inaction, and that allowing this team’s participation marred the race day experience for our community.
CHIditarod’s core ethos encourages all participants to care for each other, make new friends, and take actions to improve our communities. This includes respecting each other’s humanity and taking accountability for our choices, an accountability that extends to CHIditarod’s Core Organizers. Our event participation guidelines and procedure to handle this situation fell short of what CHIditarod deserves, and we sincerely apologize for the harm this caused.
CHIditarod takes a firm stance that celebrating creative expression is never an excuse for cultural insensitivity or the perpetuation of systemic racial injustice. Such actions undermine CHIditarod’s mission to create positive, vibrant, and creative community engagement. The team in question has since been disqualified from CHIditarod X. Further, we are formulating a participation policy and event orientation program that will more clearly educate participants about what CHIditarod does and does not consider appropriate for any future events. We will also improve our standard operating framework for volunteers, staff, and organizers to address the communications gaps and procedural bottlenecks that contributed to this situation.
We thank the CHIditarod community, partners, and supporters for holding the event and its organizers to our stated principles of positive community engagement. CHIditarod owes its success to your hard work and dedication over the past decade, and we are committed to do better by you all moving forward. Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with concerns, ideas or suggestions.