In June, Take This, like many other companies and organizations across the US and the world, issued a statement on Black Lives Matter. In that statement, we made the following commitments:
The Take This leadership team and Board of Directors hereby reaffirms its commitment to foreground the voices and labor of Black people through the following measures:
- While Take This staff members represent diverse cross sections of gender, religion, sexual orientation, and neurodiversity, we commit to prioritizing the sourcing and recruitment of Black candidates for new roles in the organization. As research has affirmed, a more diverse team is stronger, more effective, and better able to serve all people.
- Including Black participants on panels at cons and speaking events on all topics
- Continuing to educate ourselves on the impact of racism and systemic inequity on members of the Black community, and to unlearning our own racism on an ongoing basis
Since these statements are meaningless without accountability, below are updates on our progress to date.
Over the last two months, Take This has created a new strategic plan, which helped us to define our priorities and helped us clarify why and how we can (and should) address the experience and needs of Black people in the game community.
Our mission and vision remain the same. Our mission is to decrease the stigma, and increase the support for, mental health in the game enthusiast community and inside the game industry. Our vision is a game community that welcomes and supports people experiencing mental health challenges, and that recognizes the humanity and mental health of game creators.
The following principles, strategy, and goals, while not departures from our current work, represent an update of our focus and priorities.
The foundation of all of our work is the principle that hope is healing in the journey to mental wellness. Furthermore,
- We normalize mental health challenges and recognize and honor intersectional experiences
- We approach change and mental wellness broadly, from empowering individuals to enacting systemic change focused on leadership and cultural norms and practices
- We foster healthy, inclusive community by focusing on collaboration and partnership
- We take an evidence-based approach to our mental health content and programming
We are a mental health advocacy organization with a focus on the game industry and community. We provide resources, training, and support individuals and companies that help the gaming community improve its mental well-being and resilience. We address the underlying conditions that can create and perpetuate mental health challenges: stigma, harmful studio culture, harassment and toxicity, lack of diversity and accessibility, and problematic game and community design.
Specifically, this means that we:
- Ensure a sustainable and well-funded organization
- Produce content that is intersectional and created by diverse voices
- Foster safe, mental health-affirming, inclusionary, and harassment-free communities and industry environments
- Promote inclusive and thoughtful game design practices
In addition to this work, Take This has implemented the following changes to our operations & leadership:
- Take This has a new policy to compensate all contributors – both writers and video appearances, in recognition that in foregrounding diverse voices, we risk exploiting people by asking for unpaid labor. While, as a tiny nonprofit organization, we are not able to offer very much compensation, we believe that this change is an essential one.
- Take This was already in the process of expanding the size of our Board of Directors from six to 12. We have prioritized the recruitment of people of color, including Black people, for those new positions.