Guest Post: Phans for Racial Equity (PHRE)

Phans for Racial Equity (PHRE) was honored to be chosen as a recipient of 2021’s Dinner and a Movie fundraising. We are grateful for the support we’ve received as PHRE has grown from a small group of fans talking about race and the scene to a 501c3 nonprofit – especially from our fellow fans within the jamband scene!

PHRE’s mission is to dismantle White supremacy within the live music scene by facilitating thoughtful engagement around race and its intersection with other issues so that fans can challenge discrimination and systemic oppression whenever they find it. This is a big goal – and we wanted to share a little more about how the funds raised through Dinner and a Movie, along with direct donations from fans like you, will help us achieve it. 

First, one of PHRE’s goals has always been to mobilize the resources of the Phan community in support of racial equity causes. We do this because we acknowledge that we join an ongoing movement for racial equity in the U.S. more broadly, and commit to supporting those organizations who are already working to advance social, political and economic equality. We have already helped raise over $25,000 for organizations including Color of Change, decARcerate, the Divided Sky Foundation, Native American Rights Fund, and the Food Empowerment Project. During tour this year, we will continue fundraising for organizations like these, with a focus on identifying locally led organizations in the communities Phish visits. And, thanks to the funds we have raised so far, PHRE will offer matching grants to increase the impact our community can create.

Another core tenant of PHRE’s mission is to facilitate discussion and education around racial equity issues impacting our scene and our broader communities. In addition to tabling at shows to raise awareness (come find us during tour!), we also maintain and moderate a Facebook group of nearly 2,000 fans to provide a safe forum for discussion and education about racial equity issues, and our website contains educational resources for folks looking to begin or expand their understanding of racial equity. Thanks to the talents of our amazing volunteers, PHRE is producing original educational content such as the Black Roots of Phish project, informative blog posts, and antiracism trainings for fans to learn how to identify and intervene when they see harassment or discrimination at a show. We organized a book club – the Lizard Liberation Library – where members read and come together to discuss writings about race in America. (There’s even a movie version, Lizard Liberation Theater, for those who are more into films!) We also collaborate with other content creators, including the Cornerstones Black artists video series. And with the return of live shows, we also provide information and organize opportunities for PHRE members to connect with local, racial justice organizations to learn and give back to the communities we visit on tour.

Finally, we are working with music venues to address incidents of racial harassment and to build a more welcoming environment for their staff, performers, and fans. We are currently building a Venue Antiracism Toolkit, which provides tools and resources to recognize and root out racial bias in everything from policies and training to vending to security, and can be utilized across the industry to cultivate a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture at live music venues. We are particularly excited about this project because it will create a real and immediate impact on the experience of fans of color at shows. PHRE’s all-volunteer team has done an amazing job of piloting this work with our first venue partner, and the funding we receive allows us to ensure that these resources are scalable and accessible to as many venues as possible. 

The PHRE team is very proud of everything we’ve accomplished so far. Artists, musicians and fans have often been a powerful force for social change, and we know that with the collective power of our community we can create a better world. We will now be able to move our work forward thanks to the WaterWheel donation.  Find out more about how to share in the groove here.