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Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

Circus Smirkus affirms its commitment to diversity, equality, and inclusion on an ongoing basis with the following words, shared in our hiring process, in our employee handbooks, and with our participants: “At Circus Smirkus, we believe in a circus culture that seeks out and celebrates all types of peoples, cultures, and skills to showcase the multifaceted triumph of human abilities. It is fundamental to our values to welcome employees, participants, and audience members of all backgrounds with the curiosity, respect, and awe human diversity inspires.” 

Racism and hate have no place in our ring, our community, or our world. We stand in solidarity with BIPOC and with all who stand against injustice.

As a predominantly White organization, we acknowledge that we still fall short in the realms of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and we are committed to correcting these deficiencies and working towards racial justice by:

  • Creating a plan to identify and mitigate barriers to participating in the Big Top Tour, Smirkus Camp, and Residencies (scholarships, fees, and tuition; transportation; social and emotional support; access to training for necessary skills; stigma of being the “only” and feelings of tokenism)
  • Diversifying audiences and participants through partnerships, funding opportunities, and accessibility measures
  • Developing a staff recruitment and support plan that includes posting to diverse recruitment sites; updated language in all HR materials; personal recruitment of coaches and other staff from diverse communities; and annual training for year-round and seasonal staff
  • Working to deepen and fortify our institutional understanding of diversity and bias – both conscious and unconscious – and further incorporate practices of equity and inclusion into our staff training and operational practices
  • Acknowledging the complex and problematic history of circus and the exploitation of marginalized racial groups, and creating opportunities to educate our staff and program participants

We pledge to cultivate a culture that celebrates, welcomes, and includes individuals of all identities. We will continue to listen. We will continue to learn. And we will continue to stand in solidarity.

We appreciate your questions, comments, and concerns. Please direct them to Jennifer Carlo, Executive Director, at