In the spirit of continuing a loving and transparent dialogue toward equity in our work and beyond, we commit to the following as our first steps in becoming an anti-racist organization:
- Start from a place of listening. We acknowledge that white supremacy is the seed from which acts of racial terrorism, systemic racism, and xenophobia germinate. We will listen to the anger and pain of the communities affected.
- Support communities that are experiencing racism, bigotry, and xenophobia. We will hold ourselves accountable in protecting and supporting one another as we care for ourselves and our community members.
- Change our organizational culture and policies and to hold ourselves accountable to making those changes, and owning up to our biases in the workplace. We also invite our membership to share their actions so that we can all move forward collectively.
We understand that responses to recent incidents exist in a long continuum of struggles toward liberation and equality. There is deep work to do to transform our arts institutions so that they no longer uphold white supremacy. ArtsPool renews our commitment to working toward becoming an anti-racist organization and holding ourselves accountable, both publicly and internally.
Below are some specific areas where we are taking action.
New member onboarding process
Our Member Development team continues to refine our new member review process. In our initial onboarding meetings, we ask more explicit questions about equity practices at prospective member organizations, including items such as racial and disability equity in communities served, board and leadership makeup, and employee demographics. We continue to refine these systems to include our wider staff and membership in the future.
Internally, we acknowledge that our employees and governance representatives are currently majority white and that we have work to do to transform our own organization so that we further invest in practices of equity, diversity, and inclusion. We continue to be committed to working towards this change and understand that there is a lot to be done.
In an effort to deepen our accountability and ensure structural implementation across our cooperative, ArtsPool plans to continue our work with Piper Anderson/Create Forward on a new project to improve our peer-to-peer communications with a specific focus on generative conflict and mediation, reducing and mitigating harm, implementing our values, and fulfilling our commitment to anti-racism, both as a staff team and as a co-operative with our members. We are beginning this process in April 2021.
We are also committed to diversification and equity in our hiring practices. We strive to make ArtsPool a more hospitable work environment for employees, members, and governance representatives who have been historically marginalized.
One way that we have successfully implemented equity across staff is through our pay equity process. We published an article about our process and collective decision-making in the Americans for the Arts blog, in the hopes that some of our challenges and successes can support other organizations in their compensation considerations.
We, at ArtsPool, encourage our own family of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) employees as well as BIPOC employees of our member organizations to consider running for leadership roles on our governance committees. In doing so, we aim to amplify representatives of these communities in pivotal decision-making processes.
The Membership Committee is updating our Member in Good Standing guide to explicitly include more about our expectations of the culture of our member organizations and our expectations around accountability to employees and community.