In 2019, Squam created an Accountability Board with a clear, two-part objective. First, the board is tasked with assisting us to identify community needs and gaps with regard to diversity, inclusion and accessibility. Second, the board has been formed to support our intention to ensure that Squam’s mission, vision and goals are a strong foundation from which to address and improve issues around access, inclusion and equity.
Given the nuances at the intersection of race, class, gender, and accessibility, the need for perspective and objectivity is paramount. It requires a separate group of people outside of the Squam team. We accept that it is not possible to know our own blind spots, but we are resolute that it is most definitely possible to be committed to having them identified and addressed. Of course, no human being, and no organization of human beings, can be expected to be perfect. What can be expected is awareness and action.
Our goal is to build upon the beautiful groundwork that the Squam community has created since its inception in 2008: a culture of trust, honesty, and respect. In order to do this work effectively and with authenticity, we have reached out to four people: two makers who have participated in Squam gatherings and two who have never attended Squam. We are aware that our board does not represent all voices. Four people could never encompass the breadth and depth of the human experience. What we do have in this small, but mighty board are gifted listeners with deep compassion, open hearts, empathy, and a willingness to help the Squam community stitch itself into the strongest and most vibrant tapestry of makers possible.
We are honored and deeply grateful to have
Alisha Sommer, Gerri Smalley,
Maxim Cyr and Vincent Deslandes
join us to serve our community in this capacity.
pictured above: Alisha Sommer (top left), Vincent Deslandes (top right),
Gerri Smalley (bottom left), Maxim Cyr (bottom right)
Alisha Sommer :: A former teacher at Squam Art Workshops, Alisha is a mother, writer, and photographer who currently resides in the Bay Area. She uses her gift for holding sacred space, for deep listening, and for seeing the ordinary in extraordinary ways to create intimate experiences for people to explore their creativity. @alisha_sommer
Vincent Deslandes :: Vincent Deslandes, also known as “Delz”, is the creator behind Designs by Delz. A self-taught knitter, he flourishes in the face of challenges and embraces learning new techniques as he launches into one knitting adventure after the other. His background as a professional translation editor as well as his love for mathematics and problem-solving, allow him to produce precisely written patterns that are intended for knitters of all ages, genders, sizes and skill levels. @designsbydelz
Gerri Smalley :: Gerri is a long-time attendee of Squam Art Workshops who has joined us at many different locals and venues over the years. She is deeply connected to nature. You will often find her wandering about with a camera in hand, communing with plants and animals. She has made a career of teaching, training and coaching educators as she feels her life’s work is rooted in serving young children. She loves journeying through life with her husband and soul-partner Devin, her light-filled son Noah and two wonder-pups Gemma and Malla. @GerriSmalley
Maxim Cyr :: Maxim Cyr (Max) has something of a dual personality: by day he is a childrens’ book author and illustrator, by night, he is a passionate knitter who launched his first pattern, the “For Fox Sake” sweater in December 2018. What he loves most is to insert one of his illustrations into a knitwear pattern which delivers a traditional look with a modern touch. @maxtheknitter