About the Cultural Equity Council
At the heart of FAI’s stated community and organizational values is an intentional and ongoing effort to ensure a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible folk music industry, free of racism, harassment, and discrimination. To address, encourage, and implement change in the folk community, FAI committed to a now eight-year process of self-examination, training, and outreach to make necessary changes and nurture a more representative membership.
Announced in 2020 in conjunction with the release of FAI’s draft cultural equity statement, and following a year of internal training with BIPOC**-owned Team Dynamics, we are thrilled to introduce FAI’s Cultural Equity Council. The Council is a formal arms-length listening body independent of the FAI Board and staff with the goal to make equity recommendations to inform FAI’s new strategic plan, moving from initiatives to policy. FAI is committed to accountable engagement of community members and provides honorariums for all equity-related work when asking BIPOC** and marginalized people to represent their unique perspectives. Select board and staff (including the Executive Director) participate in a non-voting capacity to provide context and administrative support.
- Observe online Affinity Group sessions (March 1-4, 2022) designed for community input
- Survey community regarding equity issues, experiences, and perspectives
- Conduct an online Town Hall (March 29, 2022, 5 pm CT) for community reflections and feedback
- Synthesize all input and reflections into an Equity Recommendations Report to the FAI Board
To read each council member’s biography, please click on their photo.
Co-conveners of the Council
Elexa is a Potawatomi community activist, student of sustainable agriculture, workshop facilitator, and mother of two future matriarchs. Elexa performs solo, with a funky folk trio, and with regional favorites, Heyleon and Weda. Elexa creates community-focused Americana music with soulful voice and a connection to the land. Her debut album, “Music is Medicine” (Lost Cowgirl Records), was nominated for five Native American Music Awards, and her single, “Mother” feat. Stanley Hotel, is the latest of two Top Ten hits on SiriusXM’s Indigenous Music Countdown. Elexa runs her own record label, Turns Out Records. Most recently, she began teaching artist mentorship programs with Rebel Song Academy.
Jackie Marushka is founder/president of Marushka Media, the first Latina-owned PR/Branding agency in Nashville. A New Mexico native and creative entrepreneur with 30 years’ experience, Jackie wrapped her 14-year tenure with Sony Music Entertainment as one of its youngest VPs (1999-2013). She established Shore Fire Media’s Nashville office as GM (2013-2016) before launching her own business in ’16. She currently serves on the boards of the Tennessee Latin American Chamber of Commerce, the Americana Music Association, and in 2021 was appointed to the City of Nashville’s Auditorium Commission. During awards season, Jackie serves on the Academy Awards PR team.
Susie is first generation Chinese / Vietnamese. She grew up in a multigenerational home, and currently lives in Oregon.
Alka works for the Canadian Federal Government with the Canadian Arts Presentation Fund as the Senior Programme Advisor. She worked at Folk Music Ontario as the Executive Director from 2013 – 2021. Prior to that, she worked as the Interim Executive Director at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival and spent many years as the Senior Manager of Operations with the Toronto International Film Festival. Alka has also worked at CBC Radio as the Associate Producer for Outfront and in campus/community radio in Ottawa, Guelph and Toronto.
Amy Reitnouer Jacobs co-founded The Bluegrass Situation (BGS) in 2012 with actor/comedian/producer Ed Helms (The Office, The Hangover). Today she serves as the executive director for the company, which encompasses online editorial/content creation, event promotion, and targeted audience marketing. In addition to producing a festival, BGS has curated stage takeovers at Bonnaroo, Newport Folk, MerleFest, Americana Music Fest, Bourbon & Beyond, The Long Road (UK), and others. The website has also become an advocate for change, diversity, and representation within the broader music community. Amy is also an artist manager for Aubrie Sellers, Matt the Electrician, and Mikael Jorgensen (Wilco).
Dom Flemons is an American old-time music, Piedmont blues, and neotraditional country multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter. Known as “The American Songster”, he is a proficient player of the banjo, fife, guitar, harmonica, percussion, quills, and rhythm bones and his repertoire spans nearly a century of American folklore, ballads, and tunes. A two-time Emmy nominee and inaugural member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, his 2018 album Black Cowboys was nominated for a Grammy Award, and a Blues Music Awards. Flemons was selected for the prestigious 2020 United States Artists Fellowship Award for the Traditional Arts category supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. He currently serves as a Governor on the Board of Directors for the Washington, D.C., Chapter of the Recording Academy.
Karima Daoudi is a cultural producer, educator, artist, and arts administrator. She grew up in a bi-cultural household with a feminist folk singer mother and Algerian immigrant father. Prior to her current role at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, Karima was Program Coordinator at Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design, and led community-based programs at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago for seven years. Karima is a member of Women of Color in the Arts, and has presented or moderated panels at Arts Midwest, WOMEX, APAP, and FAI. She is a Fulbright Scholar (2010-2011) and holds a Masters in Education (National Louis University) and a BA in Anthropology (Knox College).